The Murder of John Whipple

The Murder of John Whipple

Liz Baker ( forwarded the following transcription from the National Gazette and Literary Register. It describes the murder of John Whipple (11 Aug 1793-7 May 1827). (See his page in the Whipple Genweb.)

Philadelphia, Saturday, May 12, 1827

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Murder. - A gentleman who arrived at New York on Tuesday evening in the steam boat from Albany, states that just before going on board of her on Tuesday morning, he learned that a man of the name of Whipple, had been murdered in that city the evening before. This person was sitting in his house with some friends, when he was fired at through the window and fell dead on the spot. It is not even conjectured who was the assassin.

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Horrible assassination. - One of the most horrible instances of deliberate assassination that we have ever been called upon to record, was committed in the vicinity of Albany, on Monday evening, the particulars that we copy from the papers of that city of Wednesday morning.

"The victim was Mr. John Whipple, who whilst writing in a back room in the second story of his dwelling-house on Cherry Hill, a mile below the city, between 9 and 10 o'clock at night, was fired at through the sash, with a pistol. The ball passed through and shattered a pane of glass, entered the body of Mr. Whipple through the blade bone of his left shoulder, cut one of the principle arteries of the heart, and lodged in the right lobe of the lungs. A gentleman was sitting in the room with Mr. Whipple, but in the confusion of the moment no pursuit could be made; nor was any measures taken until information was conveyed to police of the city. When he was shot, he rose from his seat, exclaimed, "My God! What was that!" and made for the door at the head of the stairs, descended a step or two, fell, and instantly expired. The wife of Mr. W. had been in the room but a moment before, and the next time she saw her husband he was a lifeless corpse! Her feelings may be easier imagined than described. It appears that the murderer was deliberate in the prosecution of his bloody purpose. He succeeded in coming within reach of his victim by climbing the wood shed in the rear of and adjoining the house, and at the time he fired could not have been more than three or four yards from him. He ascended the shed by carrying to it two old boxes that were near by and placing one upon the top of the other. By his tracks it appears he attempted to get up with the use of one box, but that not being high enough, he brought the other to his aid. He was bare-foot, and his tracks the next morning were distinctly traced along the roof of the shed and for some distance from the house after he had done the bloody deed.

"Mr. Whipple was in the prime of life, industrious, enterprising, and fair in all his transactions. He was respected as a valuable and intelligent citizen. He has been cut off in the midst of his usefulness, leaving a bereaved widow and an interesting young son to lament his untimely fate. Mr. W. returned from New -York on Sunday night, where he had completed an advantageous contract connected with the Hudson and Delaware Canal, in the construction in which he had participated largely; and was at the moment of his death arranging his papers for a departure from the city yesterday morning.

"As it may well be conceived, an affair so atrocious and so unusual amongst us, has excited great feeling and indignation; and no effort will be spared to detect the assassin. The corporation of the city has offered a reward of $250 for that purpose.

"No cause, except upon conjecture, has been assigned for the commission of this deed. The circumstances under which it was perpetrated - in the most populous of the environs of the city, in a dwelling where were several individuals, and particularly in the face of a person sitting beside the deceased, after clambering also with much difficulty to an elevation equal with the second story, and all this in a bright moonlight evening - mark it as one of the boldest, as it is one of the blackest, in the annals of crime.

"Two witnesses were under examination on Tuesday afternoon before J.O. Cole, Esq. at the police office, the result of which is not known, only so far as they disclose nothing definite."