Shocking Homicide! A Child Killed By Its Father! 1854


One of the most shocking cases of homicide which it has ever been our lot to record occurred in this city last night about ten o'clock, the perpetrator of the deed being Mr. Tucker, the editor of the Advertiser, or United States Freeman, as it has recently been designated, and the victim his own child, a lovely boy of about four years of age.

The wretched man it is said was under the influence of rum at the time, to which he was rather addicted, and was always insane while intoxicated. Various accounts of the affair in circulation. it is said Tucker had been out taking a walk in the evening, accompanied by his wife, and as they were returning to their home in Atlantic street, near Nevins, Mr. Tucker's manner suddenly changed. He became agitated and excited; and taking a pistol from his pocket and presenting it at his wife, threatened to shoot her. She released herself from him and fled home, where she ascended to her bedroom and locked the door, fearing her husband would renew the attack upon her life. Tucker, after his wife left him, went to the drug store of Mr. De Camp, in the neighborhood, and presented a revolver at the clerk, asking him to fill it. The clerk asked what he meant by presenting a pistol, when he withdrew it and pulled out a phial and asked to have it filled with that excellent cholera medicine, as he had a bad case of cholera at his house.

The clerk asked what medicine, when he replied brandy. The clerk proceeded to fill the flask, but before he had done so, Tucker snatched it from him and ran out. He then, it is supposed went straight home, and made his way to a bedroom where the boy lay, when he took him out of bed, and after taking a razor out of a drawer in the apartment, proceeded to sever the head from the child's body. His wife entered the room, attracted by the noise, and the sight that met her view was horrible in the extreme. The father had severed the child's throat from ear to ear, and was cutting at it as if it had been a log. He then attacked the frantic mother of the innocent victim, and wife of his own bosom, and attempted to cut her throat likewise. In this he was not entirely successful, but he inflicted on her wounds which it is feared will result in death. He cut a frightful gash in her cheek, and her throat is badly cut, but none of the arteries have been severed.

Two other children of Mr. Tucker, a boy and a girl, ran out and alarmed the neighbors, and officer Carroll of the third district police, and several other persons, rushed up stairs where they found a deadly struggle going on between the maniac and his wife. They secured the torturer, not, however, without some trouble, as he threatened to shoot them. He was taken to the third district station house.

Another account states that Tucker left the Advertiser office, corner of Fulton and Front streets at the usual hour last evening in a perfectly sober state. On his way home he met a friend, and both entered a drinking saloon where Tucker got partially intoxicated. He arrived home about nine o'clock bringing with him a pop gun for the children with which they commenced to play. They soon quarreled about obtaining possession of it, and Tucker became excited and told them they would not quarrel more than half an hour about it.

He then took a razor from its case, and seizing hold of the child, cut its throat, as before described, almost completely severing the head from the body. As he was about to take it the child is said to have exclaimed "Don't kill me, daddy;" but his appeal was unheeded, and in another moment his life ceased. The mother, who was in the room, seeing the act perpetrated, shrieked with a mother's anguish, when he seized her, and attempted to cut her throat, but only inflicted a wound on her left cheek, and the left side of her neck, which, however, it is feared will cause death. When the police and neighbors, attracted by the alarm raised by the other children, entered the apartment, they found the man struggling to kill his wife, and the dead body of the child lying on the floor, which was swimming with blood. He was taken to the cells.

Our own Reporter's Account

Neither of the above statements are entirely correct. Mr. Tucker had gone home on yesterday evening, and had tea at 5 o'clock with his family. He brought a popgun home for the boy, but no quarrel took place among the children for its possession. He went to walk with his wife after tea, and on returning threatened to shoot her, when she ran from him, and he went to the drug store and procured the brandy, as slated above. He then went home and drank it, but was, it is, said previous to that, sober. Instead of going directly up stairs when he went home, he entered the apartments of a man named Denyse, who resided in the same house.

Mr. Denyse had lent Tucker a pistol last Sunday, as he was going to the open air meeting at the city Hall, and he said there might be a disturbance, so he would be prepared. Mr. D. lent the pistol having charged it with buck shot. On Tucker entering Mr. D's apartment last evening, the latter asked him to return the pistol. He said it was up stairs, and went up as he said to get it. He had not been long gone when the cries of the child were heard down stairs, but they supposed he was only chastising the child. Finally the cries increased and murder was shouted, when Mr. Denyse and another gentleman who boards in the house proceeded up and found the door bolted. They knocked it in and discovered the body of the child weltering blood, and at a little distance Mrs. Tucker on the floor, and her husband on with his hand clinched in her throat and the razor drawn in the other.

They attempted to drag him from her, but could not and they were forced to beat him until he was stunned. The rest of the facts are already known. The child was asleep when Mr. Tucker seized it and sat down on the floor with it in his lap, and pushed back his head with his hand. The mother, who was present, thought he was merely petting it until he drew the razor across its throat. We visited the unfortunate man to day in a cell of the Third District station house.

He seemed talkative and said, "This is not the kind of a place I would like to be; it is no place for me." He lay on his back in the cell. He added. "I was intoxicated; I got into a scrape last night, but cannot say what." He said something about "the infant" in an undertone, which we did not hear. He complained of bowel complaint, and pains in the back.

Mrs. Tucker is improving, and is now out of danger. She must have had a hard struggle for her life. She received a cut extending from the mouth along the cheek, to the back of her neck, and two lesser cuts behind the ear. Another cut crosses the throat, and another severs the chin, from the lip to the throat. She states that he sat up every night since Sunday, with a pistol in his hand, threatening to shoot her if she moved. Her maiden name is Ferris, and she is a native of Michigan, where her mother resides. She has a brother, residing in Buffalo.

Unless all trace of human feeling is extinct in the man, his feelings must be excruciating. The deceased child was a perfect model of infantile symmetry and beauty.

The facts of the case we gathered from parties on the premises, and they may not be in all particulars correct. Tucker must have been insane when he committed the deed.

Website: The History
Article Name: Shocking Homicide! A Child Killed By Its Father! 1854
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle August 3, 1854
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