Workplace Violence in 1901Home | Rediscovered Crime News | Workplace Violence in 1901
The following story points out that instances of rage killing in the workplace are not limited to the modern era. I searched for follow-up stories to this incident but could find nothing.
From Pig-killer to Man Killing
SOMERVILLE. MASS. July 5, 1901. With a maniacal shriek, John Murphy turned from pig-sticking to man killing in the North Packing and Provision Company’s slaughter-house today, and, driving more than a hundred of his fellow-workmen before him, slew five of them almost instantly, fatally wounding three others, and slashed several more to a lesser extent before he was overpowered.
Thomas Crowe, of Cambridge, forty-two years old, married, almost decapitated.
Michael Janious, of Somervllle, stabbed through the heart.
Hubert Smith, colored, of Cambridge, stabbed through the heart.
James Carter, colored, of Cambridge, stabbed through the heart.
Joseph L. Giveronia, Italian, stabbed through the heart.
Dr. Daniel C. Hayen, of Waltham, married, a United States meat inspector. Stabbed in the neck, breast and abdomen.
John Chicosk, knife wounds in back, breast and on arms.
John Cheevins, of Cambridge, stabbed in breast and neck.
There was a panic among the employes in the killing-room on the seventh floor when Murphy began his deadly work. All hands rushed for the doors with the maniac in close pursuit, brandishing a razor-edged knife about fifteen inches in length which he used in his work of ending the lives of pigs. He struck down two more in addition to Dr. Hayes, both the latter dying as soon as they fell.
Workmen Fled in Terror.
Down the stairs he pursued the crowd of yelling workmen, slashing viciously as he overtook first one and then another. Three more men fell victims to his deadly thrusts and expired on the landing.
An Italian grabbed an iron bar going down the stairs and knocked Murphy to the floor with it, but he was up in an instant and cut several more before another blow from the bar stretched him on his side and the knife dropped from his hand.
But he was still conscious, and staggering to his feet ran into the ham-making room on the third floor of the building. Here he was unable to breathe, and as he tried to get away from the suffocating place he was jumped upon by a dozen men, borne to the floor, and overpowered. Some of the workmen were so enraged by the fearful scene they had witnessed that they lost their heads and administered a severe beating to Murphy before the police could get him away.
Moody for Several Days.
Murphy had been acting rather queerly of late. His wife, the mother of three children, says that for some days he had been complaining that his fellow-employes were daily throwing missiles at him while he was at work, and that some of them were talking behind his back criticizing his method of disposing of the hogs.
It was noticed by the workmen in the hog-killing-room that the man was moody, and that for several days he had taken advantage of every spare moment to put a keener edge to his big knife.
Jumped on Inspector
This afternoon, when Murphy was standing at the end of a line of rollers, over which the hogs, bound by the feet, pass along to their death, he was seen to talk to himself considerably. but as he never failed in his long-practiced thrust into the jugular veins of the swine, no attention was paid to him. About ten feet away stood Dr. Hayes, attending to his usual duties.
The inspector casually spoke to Murphy, and the latter, turning like a flash, jumped at him and buried his keen knife in Hayes’s groin. Two more stabs he gave, one into the inspector’s neck and the other into his breast near the heart.
About 125 workmen were stretched along several rows of cutting benches in the room, and when they heard Murphy’s maniacal yells and saw him plunge his knife into the inspector’s body they made for the door.
Stabbed Right and Left
Murphy turned from his first victim and dashed after them, striking down the first two he came up with. They received unerring stabs in the breast and dropped to the floor, dying. Through the door and down six flights of stairs fled the panic-stricken crowd and from other doors poured out more employees. Waving his weapon over his head and shouting imprecations came the insane man stabbing right and left. He killed three more in the mad flight down the stairway and wounded several, but the blows he had received from the iron bar weakened him, and he dropped his knife to take refuge in the smoke-room from which he emerged only to be captured.
Murphy is about fifty years of age and is a powerfully built man weighing about 200 pounds. Locked up in a padded cell at the Police Station in Somerville, he dared any one to approach him.
Two Have Narrow Escape
Dr. E.W. Clark, another government inspector, witnessed the stabbing of Dr. Hayes and was chased into a side-room by Murphy, the latter blocked the doorway and seemed intent upon killing the inspector but suddenly changed his mind and sought another victim. Murphy evidently wanted to find Dr. Fred Saunders, also a veterinarian, he was heard shouting his name.
Source: The Times Dispatch, Richmond VA, June 6, 1901
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