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The Murder of Florence W. Allinson

This page discusses the murder of Florence Allinson in Moorestown in January of 1906, and the subsequent trial that followed it. I have attempted to provide as much background/ historical/ genealogical information as possible about all of the individuals mentioned in the story, as well as some background on Moorestown at that time. If you have anything to add, please send us an e-mail at klopeks@yahoo.com Moorestown in early 1906 was evidently, if newspaper accounts are to be believed, somewhat terrified of the black minority. Several attacks, or rather, accusations of attacks, upon white women and children by blacks caused the editors of the New Jersey Mirror to rail agains the black 'menace' in language that would be considered hateful and unbelievably racist by today's standards.

For more background information on Moorestown, go click here.

We start with an article in the New Jersey Mirror 24 Jan 1906:
Another fiendish crime was added to Burlington county's list, already too long, on Thursday afternoon( i.e., January 18, 1906) when the discovery was made that Miss Florence W. Allinson had been outraged and foully murdered in a barn at "The Orchards," a farm in the western end of Moorestown which she rented of Mrs. Esther W. Strawbridge. The condition of the dead woman indicated that she was first outraged, then strangled with a strap removed form a cow's blanket and beaten over the head with a club until her skull was frightfully crushed. The crime was committed between eleven o'clock in the morning and two o'clock in the afternoon, the discovery of the dead body having been made about the latter time by Benjamin Funk, a Bridgeboro oil man who had stopped at the house to leave the usual weekly supply. Funk entered the house and found no one there except little Bessie Walker, a five-year-old child whom Miss Allinson had adopted as a companion, they being the sole occupants of the farm during a greater part of the time. Asking for Miss Allinson the oil man was told by the child that her "mamma," the woman being the only one she knew, had been out in the barn a long time looking after the cow and she wished she would come back. The breakfast dishes were still on the table and the child told Funk that she was going to "surprise mamma" by taking them away and washing them. The oil vender then left the house to go to the barn and there he made the gruesome discovery that startled him and led to the disclosure of one of the worst crimes ever committed in the county. The body was covered with a blanket removed from the cow which Miss Allinson had gone to the barn to care for, probably with a view of hiding the blood-stained clothing of the victim and concealing the murder for a longer period than would otherwise have been the case had Funk not appeared. A new milking stool was broken and blood-stained, giving evidence of a struggle, and the club that probably dealt the final blow to complete the deed was beside the body. There was blood on the barn floor, but nothing seemed to be out of place except the articles that bore mute testimony of their connection with the crime.

The tragedy was quickly reported to the Moorestown police who at once hastened to the scene of the murder. The news of the crime spread rapidly and crowds were soon at "The Orchards," ready to lend their assistance if they could be of any value to the authorities. The scene was heart-rending when little Bessie Walker was told that her "mamma" was dead, although her young mind was incapable at the time of realizing what it all meant. The child was tenderly cared for by Miss Annie W. Cooper, of Philadelphia, who had been boarding with Miss Allinson a short time but was not home when the crime was committed though she returned just as the discovery of the dead body was made. Upon being questioned Bessie told the officers and others who had gathered about her that a tall colored man, wearing a black hat, had been in the house while she was alone and had gone upstairs, broken open the trunk and upset everything in the bedrooms. She said the man came into the house and told her to go to the attic and play while he fixed a trunk and the prattling youngster trotted off unmindful of the intentions of the stranger. The child soon got tired playing and came down stairs in time to see the negro go toward the barn. Then she went about the task she had assumed in removing the breakfast dishes from the table. During the course of the examination she underwent that the officers might obtain some clue to the murderer, Bessie undertook to give a description of the assailant. She said he was so tall that his hat touched the ceiling in the bedroom, this being about six feet; he was light in color and wore a long overcoat that she described as having green in it. His features had escaped her vision. After the child had told her story the officers, assisted by some of Miss Allinson's acquaintances who had arrived at the farm, made a search of the house and it was discovered that the negro had given the rooms a very thorough ransacking and stolen a gold open-face watch which is known to have contained "Florence W. Allinson," or "F. W. Allinson," or "F. W. A.," and "From Bert, July 24;" a pair of silver link cuff buttons, a breast pin containing a flower similar to a daisy, and an ebony hand mirror, attractively carved. Everything likely to contain money was scattered about the rooms and so far as can be ascertained the murderer obtained about $40, a small sum having been removed from the toy bank of the little girl whose childish prattle probably saved her from an untimely and tragic death.

While the officers were engaged working out what they considered the most important part of the case for them Coroner Janney, of Riverton, was sent for and upon his arrival he took charge of the body of Miss Allinson. It was taken to the front room of the house and there viewed and examined. About six o'clock two physicians called in made the examination that disclosed the fact that an assault had been committed. Prosecutor Atkinson, Deputy Sheriff Fleetwood, Detective Parker and stenographer Robert Peacock were soon on the scene gathering what evidence they could from persons who could give them the slightest information. Unfortunately, they obtained nothing except little Bessie's meagre description of the negro fiend and the fact that a robbery had been committed as a part of the crime and the articles mentioned stolen. They certainly obtained no positive clue. While the officers were conducting their preliminary examination of all who appeared before them Mrs. Strawbridge entered the room to make known her plans for the funeral of Miss Allinson and to announce that she would offer a reward of $500 for the apprehension and conviction of the murderer. To this amount Sheriff Norcross added $500 and the Chester township committee added a like amount, making the total reward $2,000 now awaiting a claimant who can produce the fiend. Since the commission of the crime the country has been flooded with circulars giving notice of the big reward offered and officers all over, especially those of this county, have scoured the woods and countryside hoping that their efforts would bear fruit. In the large cities dives have been searched for suspects and pawnshops watched under belief that the articles stolen from the Allinson house would be presented and exchanged for money, but all without avail. Negroes in large numbers have been arrested far and near and there have been at least forty in custody. Seven of this number are in the county jail, but it is with no hope of connecting them with the case that they are being held, as the "third degree" examinations they have been forced to undergo have been productive of nothing. The mystery seems no nearer a solution than when the work of the officers was begun. The uncertainty of establishing a negro's identity with nothing but a poor description to work on has entered into this case and the officers know too well that they are facing a difficult proposition. It is not unlikely that even little Bessie Walker, who is the only living person known to have seen the murderer, would be unable to identify the right man should he be captured and taken before her. Miss Allinson, the victim of a brute's passions, was of English birth and about thirty-seven years of age. Her sister, Mrs. Eastlack, lives at Moorestown, and she appears to be the only relative in this country. The funeral took place on Saturday morning, services being held at the Presbyterian church and interment taking place at the Colestown cemetery. In their search of the surrounding country and cities some of the officers attach much importance to the theory advanced that the murderer had a companion not seen by the child Bessie and it is their hope that some one can be located from whom some valuable information can be obtained. The officers have never worked more diligently than they have on this case and their failure to locate the one actually responsible for the brutal crime is due to the clever manner in which he covered his tracks after committing his atrocious deed.

On that same date, the Mirror reported this:
The Moorestown murder and the alleged attack upon two little girls by a negro brute recalls to mind forcibly a serious question which by reason of a brief respite from such outrages had been allowed to rest. The Biddle assault, several reported narrow escapes of white women from negro assailants within the county, and now the Allinson murder all bring the community face to face with a menace as sinister and as revolting as any with which the Southern states are popularly supposed to be more generally afflicted. Several causes are assigned as at least partially responsible for the dangers which beset defenceless women and children in rural communities, one of which is the importation of Southern negroes to assist in the work upon Northern farms. This may explain in part the many recent attacks upon white women by colored assailants, but the fact remaining that in a large percentage of such cases the offenders have not been Southern negroes but colored men born and raised in the North, disposes largely of the value of this theory. Whatever the explanation, but one conclusion remains, our women in the rural districts must be protected against the dangers worse than death that beset them. A State constabulary or some other system of patrol would not afford an absolute safeguard to the women in the country districts but it would go a great way.

Not for years have the people of this county been so stirred as by the reports of two horrible crimes closely following each other last week. Further investigation fortunately eliminated the worst features of the first case if, indeed, it did not disprove the whole sensational affair, but a fuller understanding of the facts only made the other crime seem darker and more shocking. It was fortunate for the accused step-father of the two little girls, one of whom was alleged by the other to have been afterward foully murdered and her body thrown into a near-by stream, that the law of Judge Lynch is not looked upon with favor in this community else he might have been summarily dealt with by indignant citizens before the latter had discovered that the charges were mainly the prattle of an over-imaginative or degenerate child. A brief search resulted in locating the missing girl happy and apparently well in the home of relatives in Delaware. There are other features surrounding the case, however, which remains yet to be cleared up before the accused step-father may hope to regain his liberty. The other case which has brought additional notoriety to the county proved to be only too true in all the revolting details which were made public when the tragedy was first discovered. The outrage, robbery and murder of Miss Allinson by a negro at Moorestown on Thursday(presumably a reference to January 18, 1906) was one of the blackest crimes within the county's history. The cruel murder of Annie Leconey, supposedly by a negro, some years ago and the subsequent outrage and murder of Mrs. Annie Miller, but a few miles from the scene of that crime, are recalled by the Allinson tragedy with a vividness which intensifies the public demand that the slayer of Miss Allinson be apprehended and that the law's vengeance be swift and sure. The memory of the Englishwoman who was so foully done to death calls for the punishment of her slayer, but with even greater insistence the safety of the thousands of white women in this section of New Jersey demands that this negro fiend be run down and he made to pay the extreme penalty, which in the public estimate is totally inadequate to fit the enormity of the crime.
31 JAN 1906:
Rufus Johnson is the murderer of Miss Florence W. Allinson, who was found dead in a barn in the rear of her home near Moorestown during the afternoon of January 18. The fiendish and brutal crime has been cleared up so far as can be by the confession of the murderer, as Johnson has told to the world a story that holds him alone responsible for the dastardly act and describes in detail the inhuman slaughter of a defenceless woman. Johnson is the negro who was arrested in Baltimore last week and was considered the most likely of the many suspects held in custody. For four consecutive days he was put through the sweating process known best to the detectives who are accustomed to handling this class of criminals and on Saturday evening the prisoner broke down and said he must confess. During the latter part of the week he was confronted with such positive proof of his guilt that he could no longer hold back the facts. The chain of indisputable evidence seemed woven tightly about him and no loophole appeared through which he could escape. The confession tells in detail the story of the crime and gives Johnson's movements before and after his fateful trip to the place near Moorestown where the murder was committed. The statement follows:
" My name is Rufus Johnson; I am sometimes called Rufus Jones. I'm 31 years of age. My father and mother lived at or near Raleigh, N. C., at a place called McFarland. I left Baltimore Monday evening, January 15, 1906, at 5 P. M., on the Philadelphia boat. I arrived in Chester, Pa., in the morning about 7. I had my grip with me. I left it at a restaurant called the Railroad restaurant, kept by a stout colored man, where the Media car runs under the railroad. Then I went to Philadelphia by trolley car and crossed by South street ferry to Camden. I then went out Kaighn's avenue on the trolley to Haddon avenue; then went up Haddon avenue to Haddonfield; I then came back to Kaighn's avenue where I met a man with a wagon and rode to the Marlton pike; then I went up the Marlton pike to the new cemetery; then I went across Church road to Cove road; then up Cove road to Fellowship, about two miles from Moorestown. Then went to George Small's house; stayed there until Thursday morning and then left his house early. Thought I would catch the trolley for Camden, but it got too light and I was afraid to go by trolley for fear of being arrested for robbing Mr. Charles Goodenough's house, near Moorestown. I then went to the barn on Strawbridge's place, where Miss Allinson lived. The barn is right near her house. I started to come out but saw so many wagons hauling fertilizer I was afraid of being recognized; I went back in the barn and laid down on the straw; while I was there some person came into the barn; it was the woman; I saw her through the cracks in the barn. She then went out and came around on the other side, or entrance way, and gave the cow some hay. I do not know whether it was Miss Allinson or not; I could not distinctly see her. This was about 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning. After she went back in the house again I laid down, this time in the entryway where she had been to feed the cow. I went to sleep while I was laying down; somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 o'clock Miss Allinson came in and saw me and asked me what I was doing there. I said "Nothing, lady," and I started to run away and she commenced to holler. I knew it would draw some of the drivers from the wagons that were at that same time passing and it would cause excitement and have me identified. When she hollered I grabbed her to stop her from hollerin', and I set there quite a while and held her by the throat to keep her from hollerin'. She was then on the ground. Then I got up and I thought she would holler and I ran and grabbed her again and threw her down; after that she laid there and I was afraid she would come to and holler, so I cut I strap from a horse blanket that was hanging up or lying on a manger and tied it round her neck to keep her from hollerin'. I then went on to the house of Miss Allinson; there was a little white girl in the house, and she opened the door and said: "Come in, mamma will be in soon." I went in and she said: "Come in this room, this is the dining room." We both went up stairs together and she said, "This is Aunt Annie's room," and the room on the left-hand side she said was Mamma's room. The trunk in Aunt Annie's room was locked and I opened it with an ax which I went down and got; it was standing inside the door down stairs; there was nothing in that trunk that I took. I then went into the room she called mamma's room, and lying on top of the bureau I found a $1 bill, a silver quarter and a ten-cent piece, which was wrapped in a piece of white paper. I then started to look in the bureau-drawer and saw the watch, which I took and put in my vest pocket. I then went up in the garret, as she told me some things were up there; I saw a trunk on the left-hand side and broke it open with the ax; there was nothing in it but clothes; I ransacked it and found nothing. Then I came back down stairs to the second floor and she came down with me. There was a little money bank in the shape of a pig; the little girl showed it to me and I broke it open and there was about six pennies and an old 25-cent coin; then I picked up the comb and brush and mirror and put them in my pocket. This was as I was coming out of the house. This was as I was coming out of the house. On the cupboard near the dishes was a silver dollar, which I took and put in my pocket. This is all I got or took from the house. I then went back to the barn, where I left Miss Allinson. When I got there I started to take the strap from her neck and found her neck was all swollen, and she was dead. I then ran around back of the barn across the orchard and up to the road and then took the trolley at Pleasantville to Camden. This was about 12 o'clock. The car had a great many people on it. I gave the conductor pennies for my fare. I rode as far as Third Street in Camden. He, the conductor, gave me a transfer to Kaighn's Point ferry. I crossed the ferry for Philadelphia at the foot of South Street. After I got into Philadelphia I went to the pawnbroker, corner Third Street and South, and pawned the watch I got from Miss Allinson's house for $3. I do not know what I did with the ticket. I then went to Mrs. Ella Allen's, 816 South Twelfth Street, Philadelphia, and stayed there until Friday morning. I met May Hicks at Mrs. Allen's house and took her home at night, and I had the brush and mirror in my pocket, and she must have taken them. And I think she has the mirror.
I then went back to Mrs. Allen's and stayed there until Friday morning. Then went to Chester, Pa., on the trolley car and stopped at the railroad restaurant, where I left my grip. I stayed there nearly all day and took the Philadelphia boat at 7 o'clock that evening for Baltimore, where I was arrested. I left my grip at the corner of Charles and Lee streets, at a saloon, and I slept on Charles street near Lee on Saturday and Sunday nights. I want to say that there was no one with me when I went to Miss Allinson's barn. I did this by myself and there was no one with me. I, Rufus Johnson, made this statement and confession to Captain Pumphrey in the presence of Detective Herman Pohler, in Captain Pumphrey's office of my own free will. There was only $54.00 taken from Mr. Goodenough's house by me and George Small (colored), one watch, one cheap revolver. There may have been a chain, but I, Rufus Johnson, did not get it. George Small took two chickens Thursday night after we got the money. Small kept $39.00 of the money; $15.00 and the the watch is what I got and you recovered it on Pratt Street, in Baltimore, where I sold it. (Signed) RUFUS JOHNSON. Witnesses:-- DETECTIVE JOHN H. KRATZ, DETECTIVE HERMAN POHLER, DETECTIVE FRANK J. LORE.
The watch known to have been stolen from the Allinson house was recovered last Wednesday by Detective Lynch, of Philadelphia, where Johnson confesses it was pawned and it is expected that within a few days other articles stolen on the day of the murder will be found. There have been many rumors concerning Johnson's proposed extradition from Baltimore to the Mount Holly jail, but this morning everything seems quiet on this end of the case. Prosecutor Atkinson returned from Baltimore this morning and he stated that Johnson will not be brought here today. Requisition papers have been obtained by the prosecutor and he has placed them at the disposal of Sheriff Norcross, who will assume the responsibility of the extradition of the self-confessed murderer. During Prosecutor Atkinson's visit to Baltimore yesterday he completed the business that could be transacted in that city prior to Johnson's removal and learned that there was no doubt as to the authenticity of the above published confession


7 FEB 1906:
Rufus Johnson, the self-confessed murderer of Miss Florence W. Allinson, has been indicted and arraigned to plead and his trial has been set down for to-morrow before Judge Hendrickson and a jury. Public demands for a speedy trial probably caused the noticeable activity among the county officials during the past week, as a result of which the grand jury of the present term of court held a special session on Monday morning, was charged by Judge Hendrickson, heard the testimony of the witnesses produced by Prosecutor Atkinson and before noon had found an indictment for murder against the prisoner. This special session attracted a great crowd of curious people to the court house and the street in front of the county property, but it was an orderly crowd and nothing savoring of a demonstration occurred when the negro was taken from the jail to the court room to plead. The unusual scene caused some excitement, but the laws were observed strictly. To be prepared for any emergency that might arise Sheriff Norcross had nearly fifty policemen, constables and deputies on hand and they did their duty well in offsetting any fear of mob violence that the Sheriff previously entertained. No place was left unguarded. The court room was well protected and the tipstaves on hand had orders to make arrests if any disorder occurred. After the indictment had been returned to the Court a call was made on Sheriff Norcross to prdoduce the prisoner.

Carefully guarded by a score of officers Johnson was marched from the jail to the court hourse in charge of Deputy Sheriff Fleetwood and Detective Parker. Policeman George H. Branson, of Mount Holly, led the procession and he and others between him and the prisoner entered the court room, they facing the spectators. Prosecutor Atkinson read the indictment charging Johnson with murder and called upon the prisoner to plead. The negro hesitated for an instant and then mumbled what was understood by those nearest him as follows: "Not guilty. I'm guilty of killing the woman, but I didn't murder her." In answer to the question asked by Judge Hendrickson the prisoner replied that he had no money with which to employ counsel and Jacob C. Hendrickson was assigned to defend him. Johnson was informed that he would have an opportunity to confer with his counsel. Announcement was then made that the trial had been set down for to-morrow and the negro was ordered returned to the prison. The whole scene was without special incident, and since then there have been no startling developments. Contrary to the information given out by some of the county officials that the extradition of Johnson would not take place until Wednesday night last, the negro was brought up from Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon, arriving here shortly before 2.30 o'clock. Deputy Sheriff Fleetwood and Detective Parker had charge of the expedition. Both were in Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon prepared to deliver the requisition papers and remove the prisoner as soon as he was placed in their custody, but no attempt was made to leave the city until Wednesday morning. The trip from Baltimore to Philadelphia was made by train and the party arrived at Broad street station about one o'clock. There the two Mount Holly officers were met by an automobile in charge of Robert M. Snyder, of Moorestown, and a chauffeur named Ward. Johnson was rushed from the terminal to the White flyer and he was soon hidden from public gaze, being stowed in the tonneau and covered with blankets.

A great crowd witnessed the arrival and departure of Johnson and before the automobile was started on its wild run to Mount Holly even the officers were not sure that they were not going to lose their prisoner. The excited people carried sticks and stones and many threats were heard. Down Chestnut street the automobile sped and in a short time Delaware avenue was reached. Entering the Chestnut street ferry the chauffeur learned that he had just missed a boat and then a quick trip was made to the Market street ferry and a boat caught immediately. After Camden had been reached the powerful machine was started on the mission meant to save Johnson from any mob that might have been formed on the Jersey side. When Moorestown was reached all the speed that the flyer was capable of producing was let out, and residents of that place saw nothing as the party passed through except a cloud of steam and dust and a violation of the speed laws. News of Johnson's departure from Baltimore was communicated to Mount Holly during the morning and shortly after one o'clock it was learned from Camden that an automobile was conveying the party to Mount Holly from Philadelphia.

No effort was made to conceal the news, and at least an hour before the machine steamed up Grant street there was a good sized crowd at the jail. Some stood in front of the prison, others were in the Sheriff's office, while some remained at the corner of Main and Grant streets. The last mentioned were by far the most advantageously situated. Under the pre-arranged plan the automobile ran up Grant street to the Sheriff's residence. Inside officers were waiting to throw open the doors when Johnson was hustled from the machine and the whole proceeding was over quick as a flash.--Through the Sheriff's house and the passageway that connects it with the upper tier of the jail Johnson was soon in the stronger stone building, and within three minutes he was locked in his cell. It is beleived that not more than half a dozen persons saw the negro when he was taken from the automobile to the house. The whole affair was very carefully planned and those in whose charge Johnson had been placed have since been congratulated upon the success of the trip.


Moorestown 25 years before the murder, ca. 1879

also on 7 Feb:
... Rufus Johnson, the murderer of Miss Florence Allinson, was employed by Alfred W. Lofland, on his farm near Medford last year and was regarded by his employer and many others with whom he came in contact as a steady going, harmless sort of colored man. He was a regular attendant at all the baseball games played in Medford and gave no indication of the degeneracy which prompted the horrible murder to which he has confessed. When a colored man named Corn, living on the John Stokes farm near Medford, attacked his spouse with a big knife and badly used her up because he believed she was too friendly with other men, Johnson folded his tent and quietly stole away. This was in September. Johnson's name did not figure in the _____(illegible) of Corn who was sent to State Prison, but it was believed at the time that he was at least partly responsible for the affair. ...
...for some reason the Mirror thought it was important to mention this in this man's obituary on 7 Feb 1906:
Postmaster Stevenson was an interested spectator at the Mount Holly court on Monday when Rufus Johnson, the colored murderer was arraigned....

Regarding the defense counsel, the paper had this to say on Feb 7:
Lawyer Jacob C. Hendrickson, who was on Monday assigned to represent Rufus Johnson, the self-confessed murderer, at his trial which has been set down for tomorrow, probably does not fancy the job which the Court delegated him to perform. Under the law, however, there is no alternative left the counselor and he will appear in court tomorrow ready to see that the prisoner receives the fair play that the law prescribes for the accused before every bar of justice. In view of the inflamed public sentiment against the negro murderer, Mr. Hendrickson's position is not in all respects a pleasant one, but Justice Hendrickson said on Monday morning that the assignment by the Court of any lawyer to defend a prisoner at the bar is equivalent to a command not to be disobeyed unless good and sufficient reason can be shown why counsel should not act, in which latter case other counsel would of course be substituted. Another matter touched upon by Justice Hendrickson during his conversation will be of interest to taxpayers. "I do not believe in the allowance of large fees out of the county's funds for counsel in murder cases," said the Justice. "The law only provides for 'a reasonable compensation' in such cases and I seldom allow more than $200 to counsel for defending a prisoner in a murder case even when the trial consumes several days. I allowed this amount to a lawyer in Monmouth county last week but in that case the trial extended over several days and required much hard work on the part of counsel." This does not look as though the taxpayers would have room for fault-finding concerning the question of lawyers' fees for defending impecunious prisoners, while Justice Hendrickson presides over the circuit of which this county is a part. ....


and here's a brief article that gives us some insight into the public attitude toward Johnson, also on 7 Feb :
There was considerable excitement here last week when it became rumored that Rufus Johnson had been taken from the Mount Holly by a mob and lynched. There is no denying that there was a little disappointment manifested when it was learned that the report was a fake story, starting no one knew where.

On that same date, the paper also reported this:
Public indignation has cooled down but little against the colored man ______(illegible) and French, who are reported to have harangued a negro mass meeting recently on the injustice of the authorities in alleging that Miss Allinson was killed by a colored man when, the speakers, argued, that the deed was done by a white man, one of the fellows boldly stating that there was reason to fasten the crime on oilman Funk, of Bridgeboro, and demanding his arrest. Such statements as are alleged to have been made at that meeting are ill-advised and more or less risky at all times and they proved to be particularly obnoxious to the white residents of the community at this time. The outrageous accusation against Oilman Funk is especially resented by the latter's friends and some ugly threats have been heard. These negro ranters had better keep off the stump for awhile.
[ is this the same man, or any relation to the Benjamin Funk who found the body?]

14 Feb 1906:
Rufus Johnson has been tried, convicted and sentenced to be hanged for the murder of Miss Florence W. Allinson, on January 18, at Moorestown, and nothing now remains to be done in his case except the execution of the law's decree upon the scaffold that is to be erected within the walled enclosure at the county jail. The formal trial took place at the courthouse on Thursday before Judge Hendrickson and a jury, beginning at the usual hour of opening court in the morning and ending with the rendition of the jury's verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree shortly after 8 o'clock in the evening. The trial was as formal as it could be to secure a legal conviction and Prosecutor Atkinson aimed to introduce nothing for the consideration of the jury that was not essential. At the outset Judge Hendrickson cautioned all present to refrain from expression or demonstration of any kind, and instructed the court officers to make arrests wherever necessary in preserving order. The tipstaves were not kept very busy in quelling excitement in the court room. The usual murder trial crowd was present throughout the proceedings and the capacity of the court room was not equal to the occasion. Many of the morbidly curious people some of whom came a distance of twenty miles and were on hand quite early in the morning, failed to gain admittance to the court house at any of the sessions, and there was much disappointment among those who were unable to either reach or see into the trial room during the proceedings. Hundreds of people were somewhere about the county buildings during the day, and High street in front of the jail was lined by those eager to get a glimpse of the negro as he was taken from the building to the other.--Even the blinding snow late in the afternoon and during the evening failed to reduce the crowd to any noticeable event. As to a demonstration, there was not the slightest move to reach Johnson or to molest the authorities in the discharge of their duty. So far as the murderer was concerned there was nothing to do that could not have been accomplished by the two officers actually in charge of him. Not once did the people become so disorderly that the officers were obliged to resort to force. Johnson was surrounded by a score of deputies when taken to and from the court house, and while inside he was carefully guarded by a quartet of able-bodied officers selected especially for that purpose. The murderer's low type of intelligence became more noticeable than ever before while the trial was in progress, his indifference as to his surroundings being most surprising. A lump that continued to rise in the negro's throat and seemed hard for him to swallow while the crime was being detailed by witnesses was the only outward indication that he realized his end would soon come. His eyes were fixed upon the Court, witnesses or jury, and he changed this position voluntarily only a few times during the day while seated beside his counsel, Jacob C. Hendrickson. Not a turn did he make unless called upon by the Court in assisting witnesses in his identification. Within an hour after court had convened the testimony of the witnesses called by the State was being heard.

It took about half an hour to select the jury that held Johnson's fate in its hands. This body was made up as follows:

  1. Alfred B. Davis, Mount Laurel
  2. Charles M. Bunting, Chesterfield
  3. Isaac Brown, Delran
  4. Augustus B. Grobler, Pemberton
  5. Philip Schneide, Medford
  6. Philip T. Lyons, Burlington
  7. Harold Shreve, Mansfield
  8. Frank Wright, Northampton
  9. Charles E. Poinsett, Mansfield
  10. Henry C. Claypoole, Northampton
  11. Norman C. Graham , Palmyra
  12. Walter E. Earlin, Pemberton
Only four of the number called were excused.
Howard Evans, of Evesham, announced as soon as he reached the jury box that he was conscientiously opposed to capital punishment under any and all circumstances and he could not see his way clear to even render a verdict according to the evidence if compelled to serve as a juror. Of course, he was not needed.
John Morris, of Burlington, did not answer;
Ernest Haines, of Southampton, was excused without reason being given, and James Arrington, of Delran, was not accepted because he is colored.
After the jury had been sworn, Prosecutor Atkinson briefly outlined his case and referred to the details of the murder, saying that he would produce the facts to show the gift of the defendant and ask for a verdict of murder in the first degree. John W. Harris, of Mount Holly, explained to the court and jury a map he has made of the Allinson premises, and Miss Annie M. Cooper, who boarded at "The Orchards" when the murder occurred, had been called to give her testimony, when Mr. Hendrickson arose and made a statement to satisfy his client and with a view of expediting matters and shortening the proceedings. He said that after a conversation with the defendant the latter desired to admit everything in connection with the crime except the assault and for this reason he wanted to go upon the stand and tell the story that would reveal the facts. The Court stated that this could not be done, as it is not the policy of the law to accept a plea of guilty in murder cases and it would be necessary to have proofs of the crime as a matter of record.
The testimony was then continued.
Miss Cooper told of her absence from the house when the crime was committed and her return about 2.30 o'clock in the afternoon. Miss Allinson was not there and when Benjamin Funk, the Bridgeboro oil man, arrived she asked him to help her search for the woman, who was later found dead in the barn. The house had been ransacked and robbed. The articles stolen and recovered by the detectives where(sic.) shown to Miss Cooper who identified them as the property of Miss Allinson.
Benjamin Funk testified that he found the body, informed people near the place that a murder had been committed and assisted in getting the body to the house.
Dr. Joseph Stokes, of Moorestown, stated that he was summoned and when he arrived on the scene Miss Allinson's body was in the stall where she had met her death. When he removed the blanket that covered it he observed the face swollen, tongue projecting, eyes protruding, bruises on the head and a stap tied in a double knot about the neck. It was his opinion that a person could not live more than a few minutes with this strap about the neck and Miss Allinson's death was caused by strangulation. He further stated that, as a result of a superficial examination made, the woman had been outraged.
This testimony was corroborated by Dr. F. G. Stroud, of Moorestown, who assisted Dr. Stokes. Tears came to the eyes of Mrs. Eastlack, of Moorestown, sister of Johnson's victim, when she took the stand to identify the watch and other articles stolen, as the property of Miss Allinson. She thought Johnson was the same man who had been shown to her by her sister while gravel was being carted through the farm yard last December, and of whom she said she was afraid.
Mrs. Sallie Rudderow and Miss Anna D. Rudderow, of Moorestown, said that Johnson closely resembled the negro who passed their house and walked toward the trolley tracks after the crime had been committed.
Harry J. McFillian, clerk at the pawnbroker's shop in Philadelphia, where the Allinson watch was pawned, told of his identification of Johnson in Baltimore. Ella Allen and Mary Hicks, colored, testified that Johnson had some of the stolen articles with him whiel he was with them in Philadelphia during the evening of the day of the murder.
Detective Lynch was next called to tell of the recovery of the articles that had been produced.
Dr. W. P. Melcher, of Mount Holly, stated in answer to Prosecutor Atkinson's questions, that Johnson made a voluntary statement in the presence of the witness, Detective Parker, Deputy Fleetwood and Stenographer Peacock after his arrival at the Mount Holly jail. This statement was then offered in evidence by the Prosecutor and read to the jury. There was a slight difference between it and the Baltimore confession, but hardly of sufficient importance to be noticed. Johnson stated that the robbery was not committed until after the murder; that he did not go there with the intention of committing murder, and he did not kill little Bessie Walker because he did not want to make the crime any worse.
Lethia Smith, of Baltimore, who furnished the information that led to Johnson's arrest, and for which she has received the reward of $500 offered by Mrs. Strawbridge, described in detail the murderer's visit to her house after his return to Baltimore, and his strange actions that aroused her suspicions.
In addition to the above other witnesses were called by the prosecution, but the greater part of their testimony was unimportant. The State rested at 3.20 o'clock in the afternoon. Mr. Hendrickson then briefly stated to the jury that there was practically no defense to offer, but he would place Johnson on the stand to tell his own story. The defendant was then sworn and he reiterated what had been brought out in his two confessions. The defense rested at 3.50 o'clock, after which the case was argued before the jury and the Court's charge was delivered: It was about 5.30 o'clock when the jury retired, and shortly after 8 o'clock in the evening the verdict that sealed Johnson's doom was rendered. The Court was in session ready to receive the verdict and the prisoner was in his seat.
The Court was asked immediately to pronounce sentence and Judge Hendrickson informed the defendant of the jury's action and asked him if he had anything to say. Johnson replied that he would like to have it, meaning his execution, delayed for a while, and then the Judge, after a brief preface, pronounced the awful death sentence. The prisoner, who displayed no emotion, was then taken back to the jail, where he was assigned to another cell, made to don new clothing, and placed under the surveillance of the death watch. The execution will take place at the time appointed by the Court, and nothing that has developed since the sentence was pronounced will cause a delay. This proceeding will be witnessed by the following jury selected by the Court:
Benajah B. Wills, Dr. W. P. Melcher, Thos. R. Finley, J. Franklin Hunter, George G. Heisler, Mount Holly; Ambrose Shreve, Bordentown; John G. R. Rogers, Hainesport; Franklin B. Haines, Cookstown; Blanchard H. White, Pemberton; Elsworth H. Adams, Jas. V. Roberts, Beverly; Evan F. Benners, Moorestown. Sheriff Norcross' jury is composed of the following: Nathan Haines, Griffith W. Lev__(partially obscured), George A. Allinson, J. Frank Clime, Burlington; Joseph G. Bower, William B. Ireland, Mount Holly; _(obscured) Holmes Longstreet, Dr. L. C. Leedom, Bordentown; Wal__(obscured) S. French, Moorestown; Robert Cottam, Florence; Oscar H. Wittmeyer, Burlington township; Dr. Charles B. Sitgreaves, Pemberton. Dr. R. C. Barrington, of Mount Holly; Dr. E. E. Rink, of Burlington, and Dr. David Baird, of Florence are the physicians selected to take charge of the body after the trap has been sprung and make official announcement of the time when when life shall become extinct. Rev. J______(illegible) and ______(illegible) Thomas J. Oliver, of Moorestown, both colored, have been selected as Johnson's spiritual advisers and they will alternate in visiting him every day until the execution. They will be with him during his last moments on earth.

A new phase of the case was reported on Saturday afternoon as a result of a statement made by Johnson after he had been taken back to his cell on Thursday evening and which he repeated on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The self-confessed murderer directly charged George Small, now in jail, with complicity in the crime and accused him of being responsible for the death of Miss Allinson. He stated that he and Small had planned to rob the house and the latter held the unfortunate woman and killed her while he (Johnson) was doing the robbing. Other minor accusations were made. This started officials on an entirely new investigation and until last night this portion of the case has been the most interesting in view of the fact that arrangements have all been made for Johnson's execution. Detective Parker learned that Mrs. Ezekiel Moffett and George Snyder, respected white residents of Moorestown, and Viola Brown, a little colored girl, claimed to have seen a man answering every description of Small leave the Allinson farm about noon on the day of the crime and they were positive they could identify him. The opportunity was given yesterday afternoon and the whole affair was practically settled when Mrs. Moffett and Mr. Snyder came to the county jail and failed to recognize Small as they had expected they could. The child was not brought up, being considered too young. These people were in positions to see, as they believed, but it is evident that Small is not the man for whom they are looking. There remain now in Johnson's last statement a few uninvestigated charges against Small, but they are trifling and there is now no hope of connecting him with the murder. There appears to be no positive proof of Small's whereabouts on the day of the murder and this is now puzzling the authorities, they having no clue upon which they can work. Unless there are some startling developments not yet made public Small's case will probably be dropped quietly so far as the murder charge is concerned, but he can be held upon two robbery charges. Mrs. Alonzo Mitchell and the Moorestown Chinese laundryman have both identified Small as the negro who recently entered their respective hosues for robbery, the woman having had a light in her room and the Chinaman having engaged in a fight with Small when aroused.

Also on Feb 14th...
Jacob C. Hendrickson, who was assigned by the Court to defend Rufus Johnson, the murderer, at his trial last week, afterward handed in a bill for $100 for his services, which was at once approved and the bill paid. This very reasonable charge for the disagreeable duty performed by lawyer Hendrickson promptly shut off the discussions which were already being heard as to what would constitute a reasonable fee for the prisoner's counsel.

If corroborative proof can be obtained to support Rufus Johnson's latest "confession" the Allinson murder case will assume a new aspect and there may be no hanging in Burlington county next week, the date set by Justice Hendrickson for the execution of Johnson. It is not surprising, though, that little credence is given by the public to the statement of the man standing in the shadow of the gallows who seeks to implicate another in the brutal assault and murder of Miss Allinson. Johnson's retraction of his first confession, which he had given in minute detail, and his later version of the crime in which he throws the greater moral responsibility upon Small, one of the first suspects placed under arrest after the murder, has revived stories afloat immediately after the discovery of the murder, that two men were seen leaving the Allinson farm about the time the tragedy must have occurred. Prosecutor Atkinson and the officials under him are at work upon the case which has been reopened by the new phases presented, and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that instead of one execution on Friday of next week(presumably a reference to February 23, 1906), there may be none on that date and, instead, a double execution later on. If there is, however, there will have to be much more conclusive evidence to support the wretched Johnson's revised 'confession' than any yet made public.

21 FEB 1906:
Before we resume with our coverage of the trial, it's worth noting something else that occurred in Moorestown while the trial was going on. It's interesting to note the differing levels of outrage concerning both events:
"The dead body of an infant was found along a public road below Moorestown on Monday morning (February 19, 1906) and was turned over to Coroner Janney for disposition"

Startling disclosures have followed one another in rapid succession in the Allinson murder case during the past twenty-four hours. Pressed beyond the limit of human endurance by persevering officials at the jail, George Small, implicated by Rufus Johnson in his latest confession, broke down completely and admitted facts which will undoubtedly send him to the gallows upon which his partner in the cruel murder of Miss Allinson will pay the extreme penalty on Friday. While Small's connection with the murder has all along beeen believed by the jail officials and some others working on the case, the news that he was weakening and likely to make a clean breast of the whole affair, created a profound impression when it leaked out yesterday afternoon. It was known to THE MIRROR yesterday morning that Small's wife, who had all along maintained a sphinx-like silence, had been arrested and brought to jail here, and that detective Frank Lore, of Bridgeton, who had been active in running down Johnson and connecting him with the case, had been almost continuously with Small in his cell for some hours. Late yesterday afternoon Small is said to have expressed a desire to see one or two well-known Moorestown citizens whom he was confident would see that he received fair play, saying that he would then tell all he knew about the tragedy. Definite information abruptly ceased. At the jail the air was surcharged with expectancy. The attaches of the Sheriff's office plainly had something on their minds, but were very uncommunicative. It was after midnight when a favored few received a tip that Small's long expected confession had actually been made made to Detective Lore, but it was not until this morning that it was signed and made a legal statement. In his statement Small, while laboring under the stress of the religious fervor into which he had been worked by the detective, who brought to bear all the arts of the "sweating" process, detailed the part he had played in the awful tragedy. He said it was he and not Johnson who had struck and strangled Miss Allinson and in other details corroborated the confession made by Johnson standing in the grim shadow of the gallows. Manifestly relieved at having thus unburdened himself and grateful for the solitude in which he had been kept after taking the detective into his confidence, Small was soon in exhausted sleep from which he did not rouse until after the daybreak this morning. When seen this morning lawyer Jacob C. Hendrickson expressed keen satisfaction at the turn affairs had taken. He said he had all along given credence to Johnson's second confession, which had been chiefly the result of his repeated admonitions to Rufus to make amends for his participation in the murder of Miss Allinson by giving a truthful account of the crime before he went to the gallows. Lawyer Hendrickson said that he believed it would be well to have the execution deferred until Small's fate was determined. Johnson has frequently expressed his desire to have the hanging take place on Friday next and has told his counsel that he did not wish him to take any steps looking to delay in carrying out the court's decree. Prosecutor Atkinson stated this morning after Small had made his legal confession and signed it at ten o'clock that he would go to Trenton to confer with Governor Stokes and others relative to the new situation and it will be for them to determine whether execution of Johnson will take place on Friday.

A correction was made on the 21st to an item that appeared a week earlier:
There has been a misapprehension as to the manner of fixing the fee allowed Jacob C. Hendrickson, counsel for murderer Rufus Johnson, at his recent trial. Lawyer Hendrickson did not, as has been stated, present a bill for his services, the compensation being determined alone by Judges Hendrickson and Gaskill. The $100 fee allowed was acceptable to counsel, and at the same time is generally regarded by the taxpayers as a very moderate sum for the services performed

Then there was this strange incident, reported on the 21st:
George Parker, of Philadelphia, a Spiritualist, came to Mount Holly last week to see Rufus Johnson and his desire to reach the murderer's cell annoyed the jail officials to such an extent that it became necessary to lock him up until a friend came to his rescue.


The Burlington County Courthouse

28 FEB 1906:
First there is this report:
So anxious was one man to see the execution of Rufus Johnson last week(presumably a reference to the week of Sunday, February 18, 1906 through Saturday, February 24, 1906) that he is said to have offered $10 for a card of admission to the gruesome scene. When he heard of the postponement of the hanging he was probably glad his offer had not been accepted..
(It's not clear if this is the same incident involving George Parker, or if there was another visitor)

Confessions and retractions of confessions have followed one another with such bewildering rapidity during the past fortnight that officials and the public generally appear to be rather at sea regarding the status of the State's case against the self-confessed murderers of Miss Florence Allinson, the negroes Johnson and Small. Despite the many conflicting statements made it seems reasonably certain that when the case is finally closed two men will have paid the death penalty for their participation in the murder. Two or three weeks ago it was confidently felt that the man solely implicated in the brutal outrage was safely behind the bars. He had confessed in detail to the murder of Miss Allinson and his indictment, trial, conviction and sentence, following one another as expeditiously as the statute would permit, gave promise that the law would be speedily avenged and that the case would soon be closed. A new phase of the case was presented, though, a few days after sentence was pronounced upon Johnson when he made a second "confession" in which he repudiated his former statement, made to detectives at Baltimore, and charged George W. Small, already under arrest on suspicion, as being his accomplice in the plotted robbery and the actual murderer of Miss Allinson. Little credence was placed by the public in Johnson's second "confession," it being believed that he was seeking to save his own neck at the expense of his former friend and alleged partner in crime, Small. There was no effort made to stay the execution and the Prosecutor's office had about concluded that there was nothing in the case when there came the startling news, as told in THE MIRROR last week, that Small had confessed to having killed Miss Allinson while Johnson was in the house ransacking it. This gave another turn to the kaleidoscope and Prosecutor Atkinson made a quick trip to Trenton in ex-Sheriff Bower's automobile on Wednesday and managed to catch up with Governor Stokes at the railroad station just as he was leaving for Jamestown, Va., on official business. The explanation of the new turn of affairs was quickly made and the Governor affixed his signature to a previously prepared reprieve of Johnson for one month. At that time it was believed that when Johnson paid the penalty on the new date set he would be accompanied to the gallows by Small who would also pay the death penalty. Under the statute Johnson, although not the actual murderer of Miss Allinson or even present when the brutal deed was done, is equally guilty, he being implicated in the plot to rob the Allinson house, which led up to the more serious crime, if the second story told by Johnson and Small's first confession are true. The new date set for Johnson's execution by the reprieve is Saturday, March 24.

There were no new developments until Monday when the surprising information came from the jail that Small had retracted his confession and had once more affirmed his innocence, declaring that his "confession" had been wrung from him by coercion and under stress of great mental excitement. Small's witnessed confession is in the hands of the Prosecutor who has not divulged what it contains, preferring to lay it first before the Grand Jury which has been summoned to meet tomorrow morning to consider the case. It is stated that Small in reciting his story of the crime admitted killing Miss Allinson without the aid of Johnson who had gone to the house, leaving the unfortunate victim, still alive, in Small's hands. He also declares that Johnson first outraged the helpless woman. Some friction seems to have arisen as to whom belongs the credit for inducing Small to confess. Frank Lore, the Bridgeton detective, who figured as the whole show in the sensational story of Small's confession printed in a Philadelphia morning newspaper on Wednesday and who many believe gave the information to the newspaper, claims to have wrung the confession from Johnson after persistent work with the negro. Others say that John Dugan, of Mount Laurel for whom Small worked at the time of his arrest, confronted the prisoner with such proofs of his lying if not guilt that he finally broke down and confessed his complicity in the crime. Whoever secured the confession it might not be amiss for the Prosecutor to institute an inquiry as to the manner in which the news of Small's confession reached the office of a Philadelphia newspaper in advance of the information being given to him by an official in the State's employ. During the past few days Small has partially recovered his nerve and he has repudiated his "confession," as stated above. This, it is believed, will not save him from the noose since the facts given by him during his moments of remorse and cringing terror can now be corroborated, the officers say, and his conviction secured independent of either Johnson's word or Small's confession. In the meantime a chain of evidence is being woven which it will be hard for Small to break if he concludes to fight for his life in the trial to which he is entitled. Small's wife, who was arrested and is being detained as a witness, was taken to Bryn Mawr on Monday to see if she were telling the truth when she said she was at that place on the day of the murder. It was found that she had not been there as she claimed she had. A bundle of clothes was found a few days since near Small's house. They were stuck in a wooden culvert and were water-soaked. The bundle contained two shirts, a pair of overalls, a sweater, a vest and a necktie. On some of these garments spots are to be seen which look suspiciously like blood. A microscopical examination will be made at once to determine the character of the stains, as some of the garments have already been identified as belonging to Small. Yesterday morning Mrs. Strawbridge brought little Bessie Walker, the murdered woman's foster child, to the jail to see whether she could identify Johnson as the man who robbed the house on the day of the murder. Without hesitation the girl recognized the big negro. The procedure curiously affected Johnson, whose eyes filled (with) tears as he was being led back to his cell and who said "That's the little girl Small wanted me to kill." Judge Hendrickson will be on hand tomorrow morning to charge the Grand Jury.


7 MAR 1906:
The trial of George Small, the second negro indicted for the murder of Miss Allinson, was begun on Monday morning as scheduled. This proceeding was not as perfunctory as the one a few weeks ago, when Rufus Johnson was on trial and the law moved along in its course without any opposition that could be looked upon as a fight for the defendant. The policy pursued by Johnson's counsel, in the light of the facts, was entirely in line with public sentiment, however.

On the other hand, a stubborn defense was put up for Small by his counsel T. Logan Gaskill, of Camden. An effort was made to have the confession ruled out, as having been illegally obtained, but under the Court's decision it was admitted as proper evidence. Mr. Gaskill's fight was on the ground that the confession was not obtained until after improper inducements had been held out to Small by Detective Love, of Bridgeton, through whose efforts and constant nagging the statement was elicited, but Prosecutor Atkinson succeeded in offsetting this contention. At the opening session, after the usual proclamations had been made, it took but a short time to secure the jury that has now sealed Small's fate.

These men were:
Frank Wright, of Northampton;
Charles E. Leek, of Woodland;
Albertus S. Haines, of Springfield;
James V. Cavileer, of Washington;
Louis L. Cowperthwait, of Shamong;
Frank Holloway, of Bordentown;
Edwin P. Sharp, of Lumberton;
Thomas Percy Baker, of Florence;
Richard P. Hughes, of Florence;
Richard H. Haines, of Medford;
Adolph Kelter, of Riverside;
and George W. Addis, of Beverly.
Fourteen others on the panel were called, but a greater number of these were excused by the defense because they had served on the jury which convicted Rufus Johnson and had of course formed an opinion in the case. William J. Bowen, of Lumberton, was the only one called who was opposed to the infliction of capital punishment, and his opposition in this connection was so bitter that he was considered unqualified to serve. In opening the case for the State reference was made by Prosecutor Atkinson for the Crimes Act and he outlined murder in either first or second degree. He described the crime in detail and said that Small would be placed at the Alli(n)son premises on January 18 by his own statement. It would be shown that Small discussed the murder freely and gave it as his opinion that Rufus Johnson, was the murderer; that he advanced theories as to the commission of the crime and exhibited an unusual interest in the newspaper accounts of the case. It would be stated by persons whose view was unobstructed that two men were seen leaving the Allinson farm after the murder was committed and that Small was one of these men. The confession made by the defendant would be corroborated and the testimony would prove conclusively that Small had a hand in the murder. Clothing that had been identified as Small's would be produced and a cake of soap identical with the kind used by Miss Allinson, found in the overalls, would be offered as a part of the evidence that he had visited the farm and taken the soap after discovering that there was blood on his clothes. The prosecutor concluded his opening by stating that a verdict for murder in the first degree would be asked of the jury after the facts as outlined had been presented.

The witnesses called at the morning session were John W. Harris, of Mount Holly; who made and described a map of the Allinson premises and the surrounding country; Miss Annie Cooper, who lived at the farm and assisted in the search that resulted in the dead body being found in the barn;
Benjamin Funk, of Bridgeboro, who found the body and assisted in removing it to the house;
Dr. Joseph Stokes, of Moorestown, who examined the body and described the wounds, claiming that an assault had been committed;
Dr. F. G. Stroud, of Moorestown, who corroborated Dr. Stokes;
Mrs. Eastlack, sister of Miss Allinson, who identified the stolen property,
and May Walker, who lived on the farm and was able to identify the soap and some other articles.

At the afternoon session Detective Lynch, of Philadelphia, described part he took in the investigation of the case and the recovery of the articles that had been stolen from the house; Mrs. Anna Rudderow and her daughter told of a colored man passing their house at Moorestown on the day of the murder and later their identification of him as Rufus Johnson;
Mrs. Ezekiel Moffett, who lives almost directly the Allinson place, saw a negro resembling Small between her house and the scene of the tragedy a short time after the murder,
and George Snyder, who boards with Mrs. Moffett, testified that he saw the same man, but was unable to identify him as the defendant. This was all the testimony offered prior to taking up the introduction of the confession.

Upon this point a number of witnesses were called. V. Claude Palmer, a lawyer and stenographer , who took Small's statement and later transcribed it on a typewriter, stated that the defendant was warned by Prosecutor Atkinson to the effect that anything he said must be voluntary, as it would be considered as evidence against him. Mr. Palmer was handed the paper to read. Lawyer Gaskill objected to any reading from the typewritten statement, basing his objection upon the fact that the transcript was only secondary evidence and the Prosecutor's own words as to the warning was the best offer that could be made. Mr. Palmer then described the proceedings as he remembered them. The effect was that there was nothing irregular at the secret session when Small made and signed the confession which Prosecutor Atkinson sought to have admitted. He was positive that there was sufficient warning to make Small understand that he was making a confession that he could not expect to gain anything by the proceeding. The defendant had been told that he was charged with murder. This witness was corroborated by Deputy Sheriff Fleetwood, Dr. William P. Melcher, Griffith W. Lewis and detective Frank J. Lore, all of whom saw Small sign his name to the paper after it had been read to him and corrected as he suggested. Their testimony showed that Small must have understood at the time that he was making a confession. Lore was subjected to a severe cross-examination and the question of inducements offered Small was taken up by Lawyer Gaskill. The detective denied that there was any effort to make Small believe that a confession would benefit him and not be used against them.

When the confession was offered Mr. Gaskill asked to have it excluded from the testimony on the ground that it was not properly obtained. The defendant's counsel was given an opportunity to offer testimony in support of his objection. John Dugan said that while he was with Small in Lore's presence the detective said something about the use of money, to the effect that $500 would be spent by the witness in saving Small. He did not understand that Lore said he would spend any money. Martin Dugan corroborated this statement. Lawyer Gaskill then made his final objection to the confession on the ground that it had been improperly obtained, as there was a flattery of hope in the statement made to Small about the expenditure of $500 to save him. There was no evidence that before being worked upon for the confession he was warned as to the importance of such a statement, even when the detective had admitted that he had but one purpose in visiting the prisoner.
--For this reason the preliminary proceedings were considered irregular. The Court quickly settled the question by stating that Lore's remarks were not in the shape of a promise that could be considered an inducement, and the confession would be considered proper evidence. Being admitted the confession was read by Prosecutor Atkinson. The contents of the paper showed that Small admitted the killing of Miss Allinson, and that he alone committed the crime while Johnson robbed the house. There was nothing new of importance in the statement, except the charge that Johnson actually assaulted the defenseless woman. The taking of testimony was continued by the State.


Moorestown in 1934, three decades after the trial

Mrs. Lavery, who lives near the Allinson farm, saw two men there on January 18;
William Slaughter was with Small in Moorestown on the day of the murder at the time when the defendant claimed to have been home;
Mary McGann, housekeeper for John Dugan, for whom Small worked before and after the murder, said she heard Small say he could tell who committed the crime, but the reward would be of no use to him;
Elmer Stilwell, a farmer, said Small described to him the murderer of Miss Allinson and this description fitted Johnson, showing that he had some knowledge of the crime. Court adjourned shortly after 5 o'clock.

Yesterday morning's session was opened with a continuance of the State's case. John Dugan, of Mount Laurel, was the first witness. He heard Small talk about the crime before being arrested, stating that he believed a white man with his face blacked committed the crime. On February 23, the witness was sent for by Small and at that time the defendant made a statement that tended to deny the confession. Small then claimed that he was walking along in front of the Allinson premises, and was going toward the water works when Rufus Johnson saw him.
--They spoke to each other and Johnson called the defendant to the Allinson barn. Small went to the barn and there was shown the dead body of Miss Allinson.
--After that he went to the water works and later returned home, walking along the public road. After making this statement Small said it was true, and later, in the presence of Evan F. Benners, of Moorestown, he claimed it to be true. The bag of clothes found by Andrew Preston was produced and Dugan identified the garments as the property of Small, witness having seen him wear them. Lawyer Gaskill moved to rule out the identification of the clothing, as the articles were not connected with the crime, but merely owned by Small.

The motion was denied.
Andrew Preston stated that on February 26, he found the clothes shown by Dugan, with them being a cake of soap. The soap did not look the same as when found, but it was then wet.
John Preston, a son of the preceding witness, corroborated the finding of the clothes and soap. Then came the introduction of some "ground hog" testimony, which was for the purpose of corroborating Small's confession. In this signed statement mention was made of some sausages which Small had stolen from Charles Haines, and George and Isaac Pierson were called to testify that Small actually had the sausages in his possession.
Isaac Pierson told the negro to bury them. The Court here decided that the sausages had no great bearing upon the case, but even after this Detective Parker was called upon to tell how and where he dug up the missing links where Small had buried them. Detective Parker was continued on the stand after the above question had been settled. He testified that he went to Camden last Friday with Mrs. Small and Detective Lore, and after searching Small's effects at the Park Storage Company's establishment found two pairs of overalls and a coat. One of these pairs of overalls Small had admitted wearing on the day of the murder, and the garment was offered in evidence. Parker also testified to finding the footprints of men on the day of the murder leading from the barn to the Haddonfield road and to Pleasant Valley avenue, courses that were taken by the murderers.
Annie Goodwin, colored, living along Pleasant Valley avenue, Moorestown, was home on January 18, and saw Small pass her house wearing the sweater found by Preston. She knew that Johnson and Small had been friendly. The witness was at Small's house the day after the murder, but Mrs. Small was not home, as the defendant had claimed.
Aaron E. Burr, of Moorestown, who assisted in the apprehension of Small, could not find the defendant home when he called.
Evan F. Benners corroborated Dugan's testimony as to their visit to Small at the jail, when he made the statement placing himself at the Allinson barn, but denying that he participated in the murder. At this juncture Mr. Gaskill moved to exclude from the testimony the signed confession offered by the State and admitted, as the new testimony seemed to be in the nature of a subsequent confession, and the court must be guarded by the latest confession made.

The motion was denied.

Mrs. Elizabeth Lore, of Collingswood, said she employed Mrs. Small until January 12, and after that she had been told by the defendant that his wife had gone to Bryn Mawr on the 14th. Then came a lot of testimony and long argument as a result of the meeting of Small and Johnson at the county jail , when the defendant was charged by Johnson with complicity in the murder. This brought out little of importance. The State rested its case at 2.05 o'clock, T. Edward Brown, of Burlington, who was present at the meeting of the murderers, being the last witness.

In opening the defense Mrs. Gaskill said that his side of the case would be brief, as it would be shown by the defendant's own testimony that he did not kill Miss Allinson. George Small was at once called.
In answer to questions he said: "I did not kill Miss Allinson, I was not there when she was killed, I did not tie a strap around her neck; and I did not know anything about the murder." The witness was then handed over for cross-examination. As soon as Prosecutor Atkinson had asked his first two questions and one had been answered, there was objection by the defendant's counsel.
They were: "Did you know Miss Allinson ?" and "Did you know where she lived ?"
The objection was on the grounds that the cross-examination was not confined to the direct examination. Mr. Gaskill then quoted a case in which he believed this course was pursued and which could substantiate his objection, but the Court would not sustain it. Prosecutor Atkinson then continued the cross-examination as he desired, and he proved, beyond any doubt, that the defendant, in addition to his other shortcomings, is a monumental liar. Small made a complete denial of the charge against him. In addition to claiming that he was innocent of the murder he said that all the statements he had made were false, and he even denied making the statements to John Dugan and others to which they testified. He claimed that he and his wife were home on the day of the murder and that he was not in Moorestown, as witnesses had claimed. Mr. Gaskill had the record of the conviction of Rufus Johnson, upon the same charge for which Small was being tried, produced and added to the defendant's side of the case. An effort was then made to add Johnson's confession to the testimony for the purpose of showing that he had said that he alone committed the murder, but the Court did not consider this course proper, and the defense was given the privilege of producing Johnson.

Smiling and apparently pleased at the notice taken of him, Johnson entered the court room and took the stand. Mr. Gaskill asked him as to the statements in the confession, in which he admitted the killing of Miss Allinson, but this, too, was considered improper, and the condemned man's testimony was ruled out. The defense rested at 3.00 o'clock. After that two witnesses, who knew nothing about the case, were called in rebuttal and the testimony was all in at 3.05 o'clock. The arguments of counsel and the charge of the Court consumed the balance of the afternoon, the case going to the jury about 6.00 o'clock. A verdict convicting Small of murder in the first degree was rendered at 8.05 o'clock in the evening. The recess taken by the Court was from 6 to 8 o'clock and when Judge Hendrickson arrived and took his seat the jury was ready to report. Small was in his seat before the Court when the twelve men filed into the courtroom. When the verdict that sealed his doom was rendered the prisoner did not seem to be affected in the least and if any dramatic scene was expected there was much disappointment. That this was probably the case was indicated by the fact that a number of young women were present. When the prisoner was informed by the Court of the verdict rendered and asked if he had anything to say, Small replied: "No, sir, except I'm not guilty of it."

Later when Judge Hendrickson stated that it became his painful duty to pronounce judgment, Small broke forth and, in a distinct tone, said; "I never had anything to do with it in any way." The sentence was then pronounced and the execution was fixed for March 24, the date set for Johnson's hanging. At the conclusion of the sentence Small said, "Yes, sir," but otherwise was not moved. The Court appointed the following to serve as a jury to witness the hanging:
Charles R. Fenton,
Dr. R. H. Parsons,
Dr. G. W. Vanderveer, Mount Holly;
A. J. Davis, Pemberton;
H. B. Weaver, Burlington;
C. S. Parsons,
R. W. D. Albury, Beverly;
S. C. Roberts,
J. Harry Barckalow, Moorestown;
John W. Davis, Burlington;
Harry Hawkins, Jr., Mount Holly;
William F. Morgan, Palmyra.
When the news of Small's convictions and sentence reached Mrs. Small at the county jail last night she fainted and it was found necessary to give her medical attention before she revived. She was released from custody this morning, as the officials have no further use for her. Probably the most damaging evidence against Small in addition to his sweeping confession is the bloody undergarment which the negro wore when he assaulted Miss Allinson and which was found stuffed in the chimney of his cell at the county jail late yesterday afternoon, too late to be used at the trial. The discovery was made by Turnkey Gaskill while he was making an examination of the cell, when he noticed that the covering over the hole had been disturbed. He thrust his hand into the small opening and was surprised to find the blood-stained garment. It was partly burned and this condition explains the use of so many matches by Small during the past week. The condemned man slept well last night. To Turnkey Gaskill, who entered upon his duties as one of the death watch last night, Small repeated the statement to the effect that he is not guilty of the crime. He says he is not afraid to die, as he has not done anything to call for that punishment. He desired that his wife be told not to grieve over him, as he would seek spiritual advice and become converted at once. After the opening of the session of court on Monday morning and before any business was transacted Prosecutor Atkinson reported the death of Franklin C. Woolman, a member of the Burlington county bar, and asked that a committee of five be appointed to draft a suitable resolution of respect. The court appointed Mr. Atkinson, chairman; Ernest Watts and Reginald Branch, of Burlington, and Blanchard H. White and Eckard P. Budd, of Mount Holly. The report will be made at the next term.

14 MAR 1906:
(The wording is a bit odd on this--but it shows up in the 'Obituaries' column, so it seems as though Small's wife passed away:)
Mrs. George Small, who fainted and became ill upon receipt of the news of the conviction and sentence of her husband, one of the murderers of Miss Florence W. Allinson, was released from the county jail on Saturday morning.

21 MAR 1906:
T. Logan Gaskill, of Camden, counsel for George Small at the recent murder trial, stated in Mount Holly on Monday afternoon that he would make no effort to secure a postponement of the proposed double execution of Small and Rufus Johnson at the county jail on Saturday morning, as he has no positive point upon which he could hope to gain anything by taking the matter to the Court of Errors and Appeals. Small was informed by his lawyers that he would have to go to the gallows with Johnson.

THE EXECUTION

28 MAR 1906

Rufus Johnson, smiling and resigned to his fate, and George Small, with despair and fear written in every line of his face, were hanged at the county jail at 10.09 o'clock Saturday morning(presumably a reference to March 24, 1906) by Sheriff John J. Norcross, in expiation of the brutal murder of Miss Florence W. Allinson, at Moorestown, on January 18 last--a crime that aroused all New Jersey and the States adjoining. The speed that marked the execution of the law's mandate was surprising and Sheriff Norcross has the satisfaction, if there can be any, of having conducted probably the cleanest and swiftest hanging on record. Within two minutes from the time the condemned men were started from their cells in the upper tier of the county jail on the march that led them to death the trap had been sprung and they dropped into eternity. In effect death was instantaneous, being so pronounced by the physicians in attendance upon the bodies. It was a few minutes past ten o'clock when the hands of the condemned men had been handcuffed behind them, straps placed around their arms and the black caps thrown over their heads. The march to the scaffold was begun with Johnson in charge of constables John Throckmorton and Charles Gilbert, his death watch, and Small closely guarded by Marshall Austin, of Beverly, and constable Allie Archer, of Bordentown, accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Joseph S. Fleetwood, State Detective Ellis H. Parker, Rev. George Groves, of Mount Holly, and Rev. T. J. Oliver, of Moorestown, the spiritual advisers who faithfully attended to the obligation they assumed. Johnson's step was firm, but there was some hesitancy in Small's movements as he realized that there was to be no delay in the law's course. When Johnson appeared in the open jail yard he was greeted by the gaze of a curious crowd and he smiled as he noticed the attention given him and his companion in crime. Small's faltering steps did not bear out his statement that he was prepared and ready to meet his fate. The operation upon the scaffold was most expeditious and successful. When the negroes arrived at the steps leading to the platform Sheriff Norcross was in his position at the lever that would serve to complete the law's sentence. Deputy Sheriff Fleetwood pulled the cap over Johnson's face and adjusted the rope about his neck, while Detective Parker did likewise with Small. Sheriff Norcross did not hesitate and scarcely had his assistants time to step off the trap doors before there was the click of drawn bolts and a muffled thud as the heavy doors, given momentum by the weight of two men, were caught in the air cushions, that awaited their reception. Two black forms swung limp and Florence Allinson's murder had been avenged. There were the ordinary convulsive movements in Johnson's body only. Small's body turned around twice before being caught by the physicians who applied the stethoscope. At 10.17 Small's heart ceased to beat and at 10.25 Johnson's pulse was stilled. The bodies were cut down a few minutes later and placed in charge of undertaker A. B. Grobler, of Pemberton, who prepared them for burial in Potter's Field at the county almshouse at New Lisbon. The interment took place at 12.45 o'clock. To be satisfied that he was not depriving the condemned men of any desire they might have to make a statement, Sheriff Norcross sent stenographer Robert Peacock to their cells shortly before ten o'clock to record their last words. Small showed beyond a doubt that he dreaded his approaching fate, as he loudly declared that he was innocent of the crime. He said: "Well, I want to meet all my friends in Heaven, god being my helper. As far as I am concerned of being guilty of this crime I am not guilty. I am a child of God and I am going free and I will hold no malice against no one." Johnson made no denial of his guilt, but expressed himself as being sorry that the crime had been committed. He said: "I am prepared to meet my God and I want the whole world to meet me in Heaven. I am sorry the crime has been committed. I have been taken to God and he has pardoned me and forgiven my sins, and this morning I am ready to meet my God." While the cap was being placed over his head and the rope around his neck Small said to Detective Parker, "Can I talk ?" Being informed that he could the negro started and uttered one word before the trap was sprung. Whether he wanted to make a denial of the statement he had made a few minutes previous and let an admission of his guilt be his dying words will never be known. A startling feature in connection with the execution was the singing of the hymn "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" just after the bodies of the two negroes had dropped into space. The first line of the verse sung was heard distinctly by a majority of those present. The singer was William Jones, a negro prisoner, who had been requested by Johnson to sing some hymn during his dying moments. The actions of some of the "representative" citizens who had been favored with cards of admission to the execution were rather unseemly before the dead bodies of the murderers had been taken from the jailyard. After the remains had been cut down there was a wild scramble for the ropes used in the execution and before Sheriff Norcross and his assistants could deter the crowd the rope used on Johnson had been cut into gruesome mementoes of the occasion. The one used on Small was rescued and the officials indignantly expressed their opinion of the unbecoming conduct. Even after the bodies had been placed in the varnished pine coffins some of the men expressed a desire to remove buttons from the clothing. Except for the slight indication of fear on the part of Small as he walked to the gallows there was no change in the physical or mental condition of either of the murderers and there is no doubt that their nerves had been strengthened by the religious consolation they received. While the preparations for the execution were in progress former Sheriff Joseph G. Bower took up a collection for the benefit of the two ministers who had been so faithful and he secured for them a purse amounting to $35.02, which they divided.





Cast of Characters

The Biddle Assault: The "Biddle Assault" referred to happened in 1904; I found only this mention of it in the Mirror the following year: "Death came on Saturday (July 22, 1905) to William Austin, one of the trio of negroes who were sentenced about a year ago to forty-nine years' imprisonment at Trenton for the horrible assault upon Mrs. Charles Biddle, when the family lived near Rancocas. Austin was attacked with tuberculosis of the stomach shortly after his admission to the State prison and he never improved despite the care and treatment given him. The crime for which Austin and his negro companions were sentenced to such drastic punishment is still fresh in the minds of the people of Burlington county"
George Branson: Policeman George Branson was about 64 at the time of the murder, and he lived on Beckham Street in Mt.Holly. His wife, Cordelia, was 8 years younger than he. Their son was apparently deceased by 1900, according to the census entry for Cordelia. In 1900, they had his 13 year old niece, Florence Cooper of Pennsylvania, living with them. The family also shows up in Evesham in 1870, where George worked as a carpenter. Their son, William H., age 6, was with them at that time.
In 1880, the family lived on Bispham Street in Northampton Township. George was a "waterman", and his sixteen year old son was a "steward on a boat". A fifteen year old girl named Eva Prickett worked in the home as a servant.
After the murder, in 1910, George and his wife were once again back in Northampton Township, where George was police captain at the age of 69.
By 1920, the Bransons were living on the East Side of Washington Ave in Palmyra township. He lived with a nephew, a 47 year old shoe salesman named Clois Snyder and his wife, Florence B. [According to her obituary, this is George's niece,Florence Cooper. Their marriage was announced in the Mirro as having occurred on Sep 18, 1907 in Camden.] They had two children, 9 year old Ruth B. Snyder and 7 year old Eleanor E. Snyder. There was also a 30 year old Pennsylvania man named Joseph E.Garis boarding in the home. (Cordelia would die in June of that year at age 72, according to her obit in the Mirror. George made it to January 19 of the following year before he too died in Palmyra.)
This is George's obituary:
"Captain George H. Branson, for twenty years a member of the Mount Holly police force and for some time retired on pension, died on Wednesday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Clois Snyder, at Palmyra, with whom he had lived for about a year. Captain Branson was a faithful officer and no job was ever too big for him to tackle when in the line of duty. Before his appointment as a policeman, Captain Branson commanded a tugboat which plied between Mount Holly and Philadelphia via the Rancocas creek and the Delaware river. The funeral was held on Saturday with interment in Mount Holly cemetery"

George apparently had a brother, according to this obituary in the New Jersey Mirror on 23 May 1906 (just a few months after the trial);
The death of William W. Branson, brother of Capt. George H. Branson, of Mount Holly, occurred at his home in Rahway last week and the funeral took place yesterday afternoon. Deceased had been a Pennsylvania Railroad conductor for thirty years.

As for his niece, Flossie (Cooper) Snyder, she died on 10 Jun 1938 in Tampa, Florida, with the following surviving children:
Mrs. Eleanor B. Sutton, of Lakeland, Fla., and Ruth and Clois Snyder, Jr., of Tampa

[On another side note, Clois W. Snyder was evidently married once before; his wife's obituary appeared in the Apr 16, 1902 edition of the NJM:
April 12, at Mount Holly, Anna May, wife of Clois(sic) W. Snyder and daughter of Rebecca W. and the late Israel S. Deacon
Israel and Rebecca Deacon appear on the 1870 census in Burlington City, where he worked as a farmer. At that time there were children Edward (10), Eugene (7), and Eva (2) as well as a number of farm laborers: Moses hampton, 26, Henry Brown, 30 (both black); Mary Euston, 16, Rebecca Alloways, 12, and John Pennsy, 37.
In 1880, the Deacons were on Mt. Holly Road in Burlington; daughter Anna had joined the family since 1870. All of the servants and farm hands from the 1870 census were gone, but there were new ones: James McCormick, 30; Frederick ___? , and Sallie ---?.]

Isaac Brown He lived in Delran in 1900, with his wife Maria. In 1900 they were both 60, and Maria had borne no children. They had an adopted son, Willie Smith, age 15.
Charles Bunting Charles M. Bunting lived on Columbus Road in Chesterfield Township in 1910. He was 53 at that time, and worked as a farmer. His wife, Ella H., was 50 at that time, and they had these children:
  • Thomas E. Bunting, 16
  • Howard T. Bunting, 10
  • Bertha Bunting, 8
Charles' brother, Joshua F. (51), father, Thomas E (78),and mother, Ann E. (73) also lived in the home in 1910. In 1920, the whole family was still in Chesterfield, but the father was gone, presumably deceased. The eldest son was also absent.
Walter Earlin: In 1900, Walter E. Earlin lived in Pemberton and worked as a merchant. He was born in Feb 1869; his wife, Rebecca, was born in Jan 1874. They married around 1892, and had two children: Clinton (June 1895) and Lidie (Sep 1897). In 1910, they were still in Pemberton, apparently in the Browns Mills section, and had other children with them: Arthur, 9; Walter, 3, and John H., 1 mo.

In 1920, Walter still shows up in Pemberton, but with a different wife: Mary, age 45. Arthur, Walter and John still lived at home at that time.

Charles Goodenough: Charles' is the home Rufus Johnson claimed to have robbed prior to committing the murder. I have been unable to find any record of him in or around Moorestown on the Census; there were two men in Burlington Co. by that name in 1900, one in Crosswicks and one on Broad St. in Burlington city. There's no way at this point to know if either of those is the same man Rufus claimed to have robbed.
Augustus Grobler: Augustus Grobler lived in Pemberton in 1900, on Elizabeth Street, not far from Jacob Hendrickson (see below). Augustus was born in Jul 1865 and worked as an undertaker. His wife, Lydia, was born in Mar 1868. They had a son, Daniel Earl Grobler, b. Sep 1895, and a daughter, Edith K. Grobler, b. Nov 1899.
Grobler was the undertaker who buried the bodies of the murder victims, and was allowed to serve on the jury of Rufus Johnson anyway, apparently without objection.
Norman Graham:Norman was born May 1862; his wife, Mary E. Graham, in Nov 1859. In 1900, they were living in Palmyra on Horace Avenue. Norman was born in Pennsylvania, and his father was an Irish immigrant. He gave his occupation as 'landlord', but he presumably owned some other property as there are no boarders in his home in 1900. He and Mary had been married 8 years in 1900, and had no children at that time. The couple was in the same home in 1910, although Norman claimed to be retired at that time. In 1920, they were still in Palmyra, but now lived on the east side of Highland avenue.
Jacob Hendrickson: In 1870, Jacob Hendrickson was a "student-at-law" in Northampton Twp. He was 25 years old and lived with William and Josephine Hendrickson (ages 42 and 40; it is hard to make out, but it appears that Jacob and William were brothers). Also in the home was their mother, 65 year old Mary Hendrickson, and a 17 year old servant girl whose name is difficult to make out, but it appears to be Josephine something or other.
By 1900, Jacob lived on Main St in Pemberton with his wife of 18 years, Hannah A. They had seven children:
  1. Hazel Hendrickson, b. Dec 1882
  2. Roscoe F. Hendrickson, b. Aug 1884*
  3. Mary Hendrickson, b. Jul 1886**
  4. Josephine Hendrickson, b. Oct 1887
  5. Ruth Hendrickson, b. Nov 1891
  6. Frank A. Hendrickson, b. Oct 1894
  7. Grace Hendrickson, b. Oct 1899
Hannah died in 1930: "April 26, in Mount Holly, Hannah A., widow of Jacob C. Hendrickson, aged 68."
Jacob's obituary appeared on 29 Aug 1906, just a few months after the trial was over:
Jacob C. Hendrickson, one of the best known lawyers in Burlington county, died at his home in Mount Holly shortly after ten o'clock yesterday morning after being ill for a long time with heart disease. For several weeks he had been confined to his bed and there was slight hope for his recovery. There was no noticeable decline in his condition during the past few days and his death came as a surprise to his family and friends. Mr. Hendrickson was born at New Egypt on January 12, 1855. At the age of sixteen years he removed to Mount Holly and for three years attended the Mt. Holly Academy kept by Chas. Aaron. Later he entered Princeton University and remained there for three years, and in 1873 he went to California, remaining there four years and studying law one year. He returned to Mount Holly in 1877 and continued the study of law with his brother, Charles E. Hendrickson, now one of the Justices of the Supreme Court. After his admission to the bar in 1881 he commenced to to practice at once in Mount Holly and continued until being stricken with his last illness. Being a Democrat in politics, Mr. Hendrickson was prominently identified with his party in Burlington county, and for many years he took the stump in the interest of candidates for both State and county offices. At one time he was clerck and solicitor of the Board of Freeholders and for one year he was assistant prosecutor under his brother. He was very succesful as a lawyer and he enjoyed an extensive and lucrative practice. In 1881 he married Hannah A. Fort, the youngest daughter of Andrew H. Fort, then living at Pemberton and at that time he took up his residence at that place. A few years ago he purchased the property on High street in which his family resides and at that time moved to Mount Holly. He is survived by a widow and seven children, all married; one sister and three brothers. The funeral will take the place on Friday afternoon at 2.30 o'clock, interment to be made at the Mount Holly Cemetery. The members of Mount Holly Lodge of Elks, of which deceased was a member, will attend in a body.
*Roscoe's wedding announcement came on Jun 17, 1908:
"At Collegeville, Pa., yesterday, occurred the marriage of Miss Stella E. Faringer, sister of Dr. H. R. Faringer, of Mount Holly, and Roscoe F. Hendrickson, son of Mrs. Jacob C. Hendrickson, of Mount Holly. Mr. Hendrickson now resides at Woodcliffe."
His obituary appeared in the Mirror on 20 May 1836:
"Roscoe C. Hendrickson - Funeral services were held on Saturday afternoon, at his late residence in Long Branch, for Roscoe C. Hendrickson, 51, who died in Jefferson Hospital, Philadelphia, on Thursday morning, following an operation about three weeks ago for an intestinal trouble. Six blood transfusions failed to bring his recovery. Deceased, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Jacob C. Hendrickson, was born in Pemberton. For a number of years he was engaged in the lumber business in Long Branch. Besides his wife, who was Miss Stella Fahringer, a sister of Dr. H.R. Fahringer, formerly of Mount Holly; the deceased is survived by a son, Brice, aged 21, and recently graduated from Pennington Seminary; a daughter, Hazel, 17, attending George School; a brother, Judge Frank A. Hendrickson, and four sisters, Mrs. Arthur D. Cross, Mrs. F. P. Gerry and Miss Josephine Hendrickson, all of Mount Holly, and Mrs. Hazel Forsythe, of Camden. Interment was in Mount Holly cemetery"
** Mary's wedding is described in the 10 Jul 1912 Mirror:
The marriage of Miss Mary Hendrickson, daughter of Mrs. Jacob C. Hendrickson and Nelson DeW. Pumyea, took place at one-thirty o'clock yesterday afternoon at the home of the bride's mother on High street. The bride was unattended but Arthur Cross was best man. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Norman Van Pelt Levis, a cousin of the groom, and was witnessed only by members of the immediate families and uncles and aunts of the bride and groom. The bride was given in marriage by her brother, Roscoe Hendrickson. Following the ceremony there was a brief season of congratulations after which Mr. and Mrs. Pumyea left on a wedding trip.
Coroner Joshua Janney. In 1900, Janney was living in Cinnaminson, Burlington Co., with his wife, Amanda; she was 68, he was 64. They had been married for 38 years in 1900. Both were from Pennsylvania, as was their 33 year old daughter, Francis D. A 53 year old widower named Eldridge Manson of West Virginia was employed as servant by the family as a 'day laborer'.
The Janneys had lived in Cinnaminson since at least 1870, when they appear on that census. The daughters, Fannie and Sadie, lived with them, as did a woman named Dinah Brown, who worked as a seamstress. There was also a 14 year old black boy named Henry Sorden living with them.
In 1880, the family was still in Cinnaminson, and that time, Frances (or "Fannie") still lived with them, as did daughter Sallie D. Sallie was 18, and gave her birthplace as Michigan,which seems a bit incongruous, but it agress with the 1870 census.. Joshua's sister-in-law, Beulah E---?, lived with them as well in 1880. (Her last name is something like "Eastburn" but very hard to read).

In 1860, there is J.D. Janney living in Michigan. The fact that Joshua's daughter, Sallie, was born in Michigan makes this a possible match. In 1860, Janney lived in Bedford, Monroe Co., Michigan. He lived with 62 year old Jacob and 63 year old Esther (possibly his parents?), as well as 21 year old Elwood Janney (who worked as a map publisher). A 15 year old girl named Amanda Allen lived in the home--is this Joshua's future wife? She gives her birthplace as Michigan, not PA. J.D. lived next door to an R.J. Janney, also of Pennsylvania, so perhaps the family had gone to be with relatives for a time in the '60s before relocating to New Jersey?

Annie Leconey: Annie's murder actually took place around 1889, a full 17 years prior to the Allinson murder. It's interesting to see how this is referred to as though it were part of a 'pattern', when a full 17 years have passed. I'll be adding a page about that trial when I'm finished detailing this one.
Alfred Lofland Alfred was the son of Alfred and Cynthia Lofland of Delaware.
Alfred, Sr. was born in Delaware about 1823, and his wife Cynthia about 1836. Their children were:
  1. Howard Lofland, b. about 1868
  2. Cynthia Lofland, b.about 1871
  3. Mary Lofland, b. about 1874
  4. Elizabeth Lofland, b. about 1876
  5. Jane Lofland, b. about 1864
  6. Sallie Lofland, b. about 1880
  7. Alfred Lofland, b. Apr 1859
In 1870 and 1880, the family lived in "the New Castle Hundred" or "St. George Hundred" in Delaware.
In 1870 the family had a domestic servant named Anna Wheeler (age 17) and a 16 year old black boy named Harmon Wheeler who was a "farmer's apprentice". Those servants were gone by 1880, but there was a new one, William Wheat, age 20.
By 1900, Alfred, Jr. was living in Burlington County. He and his wife had been married for 14 years at that point, and had one child, Edwin D., b. in Dec 1881. There were a number of boarders with the family in 1900: Alfred Weston, a 41 year old widower and horse trainer from New York; George Smith, a 14 year old farm laborer; DeMaris D. Ford, a 30 year old widow and domestic servant; and DeMari' 4 year old daughter, Arrila. [Alfred, Jr. and his wife, Harriet, saw their wedding announcement in the NJM on 31 Mar 1886:
"Third Month, 24, 1886, at the residence of the bride, by Friends' ceremony, Alfred W. Lofland, of New York, formerly of New Castle County, Delaware, and Harriet D. Rogers, of Marlton, formerly of Philadelphia"]
In 1892,and again in 1907, an A.W. Lofland was apparently working as an auctioneer at public auction, according to a notice in the Mirror
A few months after the trial, in December 1906, this item appeared:
"Mrs. E. D. Rogers, of Medford, had her hands burned recently when some cotton caught fire while she was dressing a wound on the head of her mother-in-law, Mrs. A. W. Lofland. ..."
This would seem to be a reference by one of Harriet's family (Rogers) to A.W., Jr.'s wife.
Alfred died in 1916, according to an obit printed on 6 Dec 1916:
The death of Alfred W. Lofland(date of decease not stated), of Marlton, removes a well-known figure from the business and political life of the inland section of Burlington county. Formerly a river steam-boat captain, "Al" Lofland settled near Marlton many years ago and engaged in the business of selling horses and mules. Later he interested himself in politics and was elected a member of the Board of Freeholders from Evesham township. Two years ago he ran for Sheriff on the Democratic ticket, being defeated by Sheriff Stecher after a three-cornered fight. He had been in failing health for some months prior to his death
Detective Frank J. Lore In 1900, Frank J. Lore lived on Broad St in Bridgeton. He was born in June of 1867, making him about 43 at the time of the Allinson murder. He married his wife, Hanna, about 1891. She was 1 year his senior. In August of 1891 they had their first child, Franklin Jr, and Harry T. Lore followed in January of 1894. Franklin and his wife and children were all born in New Jersey. Frank was already a detective as of 1900.
In 1910, four years after the trial, the entire famil was still in Bridgeton, though they now lived on Atlantic Street. Franklin, Jr. worked as a clerk at a soda fountain.
In 1920, the family still lived on Atlantic Street. He worked as a Detective for the State, and Harry T. Lore lived in the same home (although it looks like it was a two-family home of which he occupied half.) Harry was working as a stenographer for the Pennsylvania RR, and was married to a 22 year old woman named Pearl B. (She was born in Texas). Franklin Lore, Jr. lived just down the street, with his wife, Mildred H.,age 25. Franklin,Jr. worked as a dentist. They had a two year old son named Robert W. Lore, and a servant, a 16 year old black girl named Clara Goldenborn.
In 1921, Frank Lore,Sr.was involved in the investigation of the murder of young Matilda Russo.
Detective Ellis Parker: According to this site, :
"Ellis H. Parker was born at Wrightstown, NJ, now better known as Camp Dix on Sept. 12, 1871. He is the son of Anthony J. Parker whose forefather Marcus Parker was killed in the battle of Monmouth at the time of the revolutionary war. He was raised on a farm. In early life took up the study of music and for a few years played a violin for dances. Then he was selected by the Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean County pursuing society, to act as one of the pusuers in the detection of horse thieves. Prior to this, he suffered being robbed a couple of times and these he solved himself. He had good luck in catching horse thieves and on April 4, 1894 he was called to Mt. Holly by the prosecutor Eckard B. Budd to act as county detective for the county of Burlington. In those days he was paid under the fee system. It is said that Mr. Budd never questioned ay bill of his where he made good but would not allow him anything where he failed. This probably is the cause of him being successful; although he says that a good wife and a contented mind is responsible for his success. He served 6 years under Mr. Budd and then 15 years under Mr. Samuel A. Atkinson and nearly 10 years under Jonathan H. Kelsey. During this time he has handled every class of crime on the statute book. He has had 103 murder cases - 96 convictions and 1 case pending. He has shown that he can work cases in other counties as well as his own - the David Paul murder case in Camden, the bank messenger, was traced down by him and two persons paid the death penalty. This case attracted world wide attention and is only one of the many mystery cases that he solved.
He also had the William Giberson murder case in Ocean County, whose wife, Ivy is now serving a life sentence.
About one year ago [ca. 1924] he was called by the Attorney General of NJ, Thomas McCran to work on a case in Morris County, NJ. He located his man in St. Louis. MO and he was convicted. He was again called to work in one of the upper counties in another investigation which is still in progress.
No case that he has ever had has been too big for him to handle. He has shown that he can direct work as well as do it himself, although he makes no specialty of any crime. Burlington County this year will be richer by many thousand dollars through his efforts of enforcing the Hobard act.
He has had many fluttering offers but has refused preferring to stay in NJ. He not only is locally known but is nationally known in his work and can get assistance from all police departments and through government channels."

On the 1910 census, Ellis H. Parker, 38, detective, lived in Northampton Township. His wife, Cora E. and he had been married about 10 years at that point. They had Anthony J., 8 and Mildred E. Parker, 7 and Charlotte Parker, 2,living with them, as well as a boarder from Maryland whose name I can not make out.
By 1920, he was living on High St in Mt. Holly, in an apartment building. Son Anthony was employed as a weaver at that time. There were several new children as well: Ellis Jr, age 9; Lillian J, age 4; Jane A, age 2; and Edward S. Parker, age 2 mos in Jan of 1920.

Fifteen years after the Allinson murder, Detective Parker was involved in the case of Matilda Russo's murder.

John Stokes
John Stokes shows up as early as 1880 in Medford on the census. His name was given as John W. Stokes, and he was 33 at the time. (His 1900 census entry says he was born in Nov 1855). His wife, Ann W., was supposedly born in Oct 1846. In 1880, Ann's mother Raehl E. Woolman, age 73, and her brother Nathan Woolman, age 30, were living on the farm.
By 1900, the family was still in Medford. There were three sons, whose names are hard to read on the census but they look like:
  • C? Harvey Stokes, b. Jul 1880
  • Maurice Stokes, b. Jul 1881
  • S. Emil? Stokes, b. Jan 1884
John W. Stokes obit appeared about a year after the trial, in the April 10th, 1907 edition. ( He died on April 6th).
Esther Strawbridge. In 1900, she lived with her husband, Edward, on Morris St in Moorestown. Edward's birthdate is given as Jan 1865; Esther's is December, with no year listed, but she was 39 in 1900, so she was probably born about 1860. Edward was born in Pennsylvania, as were Esther's parents (though she was born in NJ herself). In 1900, they had an 8 year old daughter named Margaret and a six year old adopted daughter named Rachel. (Rachel was born in PA in June of 1893). (Edmund's job says "dry goods-Strawbridge and Clothier". Is he related to the man who founded the chain of stores?)
The Strawbridges must have been fairly well off--in 1900 they had two servants, 44 year old Irish immigrant Mary Kelly and another woman named Mary, aged 39, from Pennsylvania. (Her surname is illegible on the 1900 census entry). They also employed a 27 year old black man named Franklin Ashton as a "coachman". [I believe, but am not certain, that Franklin Ashton was the son of A. Ashton, b. about 1840 in VA to farmer James Ball and his wife Martha).
John Throckmorton: In 1910, he worked as a Constable in Northampton Township. He and his wife, Lucy, were both 41. They had the following children in 1910:
  1. John Throckmorton, 18
  2. Bessie Throckmorton, 16
  3. Ralph Throckmorton, 14
  4. Ethel Throckmorton, 13
  5. Ella Throckmorton, 10
  6. Lottie Throckmorton, 7
  7. Esther Throckmorton, 6
  8. Gladys Throckmorton, 2
The census says Lucy had given birth 11 times, and had 9 children still living. One is obviously missing from this census, presumably old enough to have moved out.

By 1920, the family had moved to Mt. Holly, where John served as Justice of the Peace. (They lived on Church Street). The children still in the home were:

  1. Ralph, 24, who now worked as a butcher
  2. Ella B., 19
  3. Lottie, 16
  4. Ester, 15
  5. Firman H., age 13 (where was he on the last census?)