Welcome to our Thornton family

In this blog we attempt to create a visual history of a main southern Kentucky Thornton branch, descended from Scots-Irish Thorntons who may have arrived in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. If your goal is to check whether or not you or a family member are listed in our genealogy file, the first eight posts contain more than 1,500 names, listed generationally. Use the 'find' command to scroll through the material...Good luck.

Also, if you have photos, corrections, or inquiries, please feel free to contact us at thorntonsoky@gmail.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Murder by Masseuse: A Thornton Family Scandal

On November 5, 1896 in Chicago, Ill., approximately one year after the death of Bert Thornton, his widow, Belle Keiser Thornton, was murdered by her lover, Swedish masseuse Carl Carlson. A jealous lover, Mr. Carlson had a reputation for a violent temper and was known to frequently abuse Mrs. Thornton; she intimated that she was too frightened to send him away.
On that Thursday, the couple had once again had a heated exchange. It was reported that Carl demanded money from Mrs. Thornton, but she refused to deplete her savings. Also, Mr. Carlson reported that he had found a letter from another man, which sent him into a jealous rage.
Whatever the reason, shortly after breakfast, Mrs. Thornton and Mr. Carlson had a terrible fight. Trying to escape him, she rushed from the room, only to get her arm caught between the door and jam. Mr. Carlson slammed his weight onto the door and used a chair to pin Belle in place. He then returned to bed. Upon hearing Thornton’s cries, the boarding house manager rushed upstairs and freed her.
Approximately an hour later, two shots were heard by other residents. A resident saw Mr. Carlson exiting the floor and asked what had happened. He said he didn’t know and departed. The resident and boarding manager forced their way into Mrs. Thornton’s room and discovered her body. She had been shot twice in the head. A physician was summoned, and she was pronounced dead.
Shortly after, the police arrested Mr. Carlson at the Turkish bathhouse where he had previously been employed. He had stashed the gun in a desk, but, otherwise, did not resist. Before trial, Carl Carlson committed suicide, bringing this tragic episode to a close.

( Bert Thornton was a descendant of Samuel and a member of the Logansport Thorntons. Belle Keiser was the daughter of Jacob Keiser, a former Indiana State Senator and Winamac, Indiana, postmaster.)

1 comment:

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