Item: The Horrible Murder of the Dearing Family, lithographic print

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Record Number: 4420
Call number: Bb 892 D285
Reproduction restrictions: None
Publisher: John L. Magee, 1820-
Address: Jones Lane
Date of Original: 1866
Original Format: Prints › Lithographs
Dimensions: Dimensions of image, 36 by 26 cm
Inscription text: The above picture is a correct representation of the interior of the the barn and appearance of the murdered family as sketched by the artist shortly after the discovery of the murder, the murderer is in the act of dragging the bodies of Mrs. Dearing and the children into the adjoining corn crib, seen through the window to the right of the picture. Names of the murdered family: Christopher Dearing, aged 38 years; his wife, Julia Dearing, aged 45 years; their son, John Dearing, aged 8 years; their son, Thomas Dearing, aged 6 years; their daughter, Anna Dearing, aged 4 years; their daughter, Emily Dearing, aged 2 years; his niece [sic], Elizabeth Dolan, aged 25 years; and Cornelius Cary, aged 17 years.
Inscription location: Recto
Image description: Artists sketch of the murder of the Dearing family, thought to be the first mass murder in Pennsylvania. News print showing the Philadelphia family murdered by their farmhand Anton Probst at their farm at Jones Lane in South Philadelphia on April 7, 1866. Probst, his face partially covered by the wall above the passageway, drags the body of one of the boys through it to the crib. The goateed murderer drags the boy by his feet, face up, from the pile of corpses laying on the hay covered floor. To the left of the image, Mrs. Dearing lays face down and covered by the bodies of her older children, who lay face up and with slit throats. Her hand is outstretched and resting on the baby, whose throat is also slit. To the right, in front of a barrel below a window, Mr. Dearing lays face up, a slit in his throat, his face covered by hay, and next to family friend Miss Dolan. She lays face down, her arms outstretched and her cross visible from beneath her body. Also shows, a pitchfork and ax propped against the wall in the background across from an opening to another section of the barn where cows stand in stalls. The murdered farmhand, Cary, is not depicted. Probst, a German immigrant and swindler, was a disgruntled former farmhand of the Dearings who murdered the family by hammer and ax for revenge and money. He was convicted in May 1866 and executed the following month at Moyamensing Prison for the largest murder in Philadelphia at that time.